I am studying discourse markers and ended up checking online (in crownacademyenglish) about the difference between these expressions.

Firstly, this website affirms that they are prepositions, which I disagree with. They can also be adverbials. Secondly, I am not sure I agree with the difference in meaning it suggests. I would like you to confirm my doubts with examples, if possible. Also, to show if, in fact, it is their word type that could produce such a difference in meaning in some contexts.

The text states that besides adds something to the clause. It means "plus". Except (of) means minus; it has a meaning of excluding something. Apart from is a combination of the two, meaning plus / minus depending on the context.

So, basically what I'm hearing is that a sentence like

  • Next week, I’ll be in London every day besides Monday

is incorrect. Is this so?

Perhaps I am wrongly influenced by their equivalent expressions in Spanish, but to me, they mean basically the same.

To add something to the post, this is the definition of besides in an online dictionary:

As an adverb:

  • Meaning moreover; furthermore; also: "Besides, I promised her we would come."
  • Meaning in addition: "There are three elm trees and two maples besides".
  • Meaning otherwise; else: "They had a roof over their heads but not much besides."

As a preposition:

  • Meaning over and above; in addition to: "Besides a mother he has a sister to support."
  • Meaning other than; except: "There's no one here besides Bill and me."

Is there something I am not grasping? Thanks.

  • You're right; you've spotted one of the many idiosyncrasies English suffers from/is blessed with. In 'There's no one here besides/except Bill and me', the two synonyms are interchangeable, with only a hint of a more formal register with 'except'. But in 'Next week, I’ll be in London every day except Monday', 'besides' sounds unnatural (and I've found no relevant examples in ... Apr 23, 2021 at 14:36
  • Google ngrams for 'every day besides'.) And zero returns for 'every day besides Monday' (x7, + 'weekends'). 'Besides' meaning 'except' has a far more restricted distribution. People are often the prepositional complement ('besides John / him / the kids ...'). // Note that prepositional usage is not the discourse marker meaning 'And another reason to ... ,/ not to ... ,'. Apr 23, 2021 at 14:41
  • A discourse marker cannot be a preposition.....besides Monday = except for Monday. Same thing. Not a discourse marker. It would be if you were arguing with someone and provide another reason for something: Besides, I really hate hot dogs. And there, it means also. Adverbs are also usually not discourse markers.
    – Lambie
    Apr 23, 2021 at 14:49
  • My issue is definitely some interferience from Spanish. "Besides (Spanish: Aparte), I really hate hot dogs". Apartar (verb) also means to move away or to separate. So, it is quite similar, but their maps of meaning now I am fluent in both languages are totally mixed in my head. "I’ll be in London every day besides Monday" does actually sound a bit off to me. The problem was that I couldn't tell why nor can I see how to interiorize the difference in meaning. Anyway, in the practice I tend to use "apart" or "except" due to the same Spanish interference. Besides, who needs the word besides.
    – Pablo GM
    Apr 23, 2021 at 15:18
  • 1
    You cannot compare prepositions and adverbials. Preposition is a word class (part of speech) and adverbial is a function that can be performed by a range of expressions, not just prepositions.
    – BillJ
    Apr 23, 2021 at 15:33


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