Using commas appropriately saves us from miscommunicating what we really mean. Needless to say, it is quite an important life skill to have.
There’s been some curiosity on when exactly to place a comma after the word “besides” – a word that has multiple faces.
Today, we’ll be tackling this very issue so we can get rid of the confusion. The next section aims to briefly answer our problem.
When does a comma come after “besides”?
A comma comes after “besides” when it is used as an introductory phrase as well as when it appears at the end of a parenthetical expression that comes midsentence. A post-comma is also necessary when “besides” is used in a quoted speech and when it is used before a direct address.
Place a comma after “besides” when…
The word “besides” has multiple faces. It can act either as an adverb or preposition in a sentence.
Sometimes, it is also called a conjunctive adverb, which makes things a bit tricky.
These lexical categories of “besides” mainly guide our comma decisions, but there are also some style-related matters to discuss.
The same is also true with the comma rules after the word “beforehand” when used in a sentence. Like “besides,” it is also an adverb.
When deciding whether a comma should come after “besides,” we can refer to these four key grammatical considerations listed in the next section.
The discussion is going to be related to the structure of sentences, so feel free to check our beginner’s guide to syntax in your free time to understand better.
When “besides” is used as an introductory phrase
By and large, “besides” is used as an introductory expression in itself. It is used to suggest different meanings such as “on top of what has been said” and “moreover.”
When “besides” is used as an introductory phrase or expression all by itself, a comma necessarily comes after it.
When “besides” is used this way, it acts as a conjunctive adverb in a sentence. It works as an additive device, which helps in making sense of idea transitions.
At the same time, the comma also helps in creating a logical and cohesive transition between the two different ideas involved, especially when read out loud.
When we talk about idea transitions, conjunctions are also very much part of the topic. So, learning more about conjunctions in detail is also recommended.
All in all, the word “besides” together with the post-comma insertion makes our sentences more read-worthy and easier to digest.
Here’s an example using “besides” as a conjunctive adverb introductory phrase:
In the example above, “besides” helps us understand that the second sentence is connected with the previous sentence; in fact, its meaning is also dependent on it.
The comma also gives us an idea that a quick break is needed before reading the main clause because we are dealing with an introductory expression.
Without the comma, there is a high possibility of interpreting “besides” in the previous example as a preposition whose object is the succeeding pronoun “you.”.
When “besides” is used at the end of a parenthetical phrase
Another condition that guides the necessary comma placement after the word “besides” is when it is used at the end of a parenthetical phrase.
A parenthetical phrase or expression is a piece of information that is deliberately added to achieve some emphatic effect.
In writing, the goal of using parenthetical comments is to make the sentence more interesting to read and detail-oriented.
Besides that, the aim of using commas around parenthetical statements is to mimic how the spoken language works.
When this happens with “besides” as any other word that appears at the end of a parenthetical expression, a post-comma is always needed.
Here’s an example to add some visuals:
As you can see, “and besides” is the whole parenthetical phrase in the example above. Since “besides” happens to be used in the end, then a comma has to come after it.
Remember that it is also possible to remove the word “besides” and just go with the coordinating conjunction “and.”
A comma before “and” is necessary if and when it is used to link two independent clauses to form a compound sentence.
When “besides” is used in a quoted speech
A comma should also come after besides when it is used as a quoted remark or at least placed at the end of the quoted speech.
The comma separates the quoted speech from the unquoted part. The unquoted part is also called the “attribution,” which is the identification of the source of information.
This separation helps us smoothly identify the quoted speech and that it needs to be interpreted differently from the unquoted part.
To see things more clearly, here’s an example:
In the example above, “and besides” is the quoted or direct speech, while “he mumbled” is the attribution.
Take note that the letter “i” in “it” in the latter quoted speech should not be written in uppercase because it does not introduce a new sentence.
Instead, the second quoted speech is simply a continuation of the opening quoted speech that contains the word “besides” at the end.
When “besides” is used before a direct address (name)
Last but not least, a necessary comma should also be used after “besides” when it is followed by a direct address.
There are also certain rules that govern the use of commas before or after names that function as direct addresses in writing.
The golden rule is to always use one whenever in doubt. Being aware of this rule actually reduces the chances of misinterpretation, hence the importance.
Here’s how we can use “besides” this way:
In the example above, the name “Mark” is used as a direct addressee’s name, particularly for drawing emphasis toward the receiver of the message.
Meanwhile, the comma helps us understand clearly that “Mark” is not used as an object of preposition but rather a direct addressee’s name.
Do not place a comma after “besides” when…
If there are some rules that guide how to use a comma after “besides,” there is also something that governs the comma omission.
When “besides” is used as a preposition
As you may figure, there is no need for a comma when “besides” is used as a preposition in a sentence. This is because the meaning of prepositions is greatly linked to their objects.
When “besides” is used as a preposition, it is “grammatically restrictive” to the wholistic meaning of the sentence.
This means that it is a key element and non-removable part of the sentence where it is used. In other words, it is a vital part of the whole sentence.
As a preposition, “besides” suggests the meaning “apart from” or “with the exception of” which is useful in conveying the idea of exclusion.
Other than the mentioned senses, “but for,” “except,” “in addition to,” “as well as,” and “above and beyond” are also synonymous with “besides.”
There should be no comma after “besides” when it is used such as in the following examples:
Frequently Asked Questions on “Comma after ‘Besides’”
What does “besides” mean?
“Besides” has multiple meanings. As a preposition, it usually suggests the meaning “apart from.” Meanwhile, as a conjunctive adverb, it is used to convey “on top of what has been previously said.”
How can we use “besides” in a sentence?
“Besides” can be used as a preposition to convey exclusion, such as in “besides you” and “besides Ali.” As a conjunctive adverb, though, it is mostly used to mean “on top of that,” in which it is often used as an introductory expression or part of it.
What do we mean by “besides you”?
“Besides you” can either mean “other than you,” “as well as you,” “on top of you,” “except you,” or “aside from you.”
Comma decisions, such as after “besides,” are one of the trickiest parts of writing. But, with more exposure, practice, and experience, there’s no way skills wouldn’t get better.
Join us again next time for more mind-opening language discussions, and remember to use your commas not perfectly but rather appropriately!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.