“besides”, “except” and “apart from” are all prepositions.
We use them to define what we want to include or exclude in a discussion.
- We use “besides” to add something to the discussion.
- It has a similar meaning to “with” or “plus”.
- When we use “besides”, we are including something in the discussion and then adding to it.
This means that I have a total of 3 animals.
I am including the cat.
In addition to the cat, I also have a dog and a hamster.
I know you speak English. I am including English in the discussion. But in addition to English, do you speak any other languages?
“playing” is a gerund. A gerund is the -ing form of a verb when we want to use the verb as a noun.
Therefore “playing football” is a noun phrase.
In this sentence, we are including “playing football” as one of Mark’s hobbies. But in addition to “playing football”, Mark has other hobbies. We are adding to the discussion.
- We use “except (for)” to substract something from the discussion.
- It has a similar meaning to “without” or “minus”.
- When we use “except (for)”, we are excluding something from the discussion.
I do not like hamsters. But I like all other animals.
I am excluding hamsters from the list of animals that I like.
David was not at the party. All of my other friends were at the party.
David is excluded from the list of people present at the party.
We susbtract David from the list of people at the party.
except or except for?
We can use “except” or “except for” in general statements after generalising words (all, everyone, nobody, every, no, whole):
I like all animals except for hamsters.
I like all animals except hamsters.
We only use “except for” in statements which are NOT general statements and do NOT come after generalising words:
I like animals except for hamsters.
I like animals except hamsters.
- “apart from” is a combination of “besides” and “except (for)”.
- “apart from” can mean “including” or “excluding”.
This sentence has the same meaning as “Besides a cat, I also have a dog and a hamster.”
I’m including the cat in the list of animals I have and I am adding a dog and a hamster to that list.
(Notice the word “also” to make it clear that we are adding to something we have included.)
This sentence has the same meaning as “Next week, I’ll be in London every day except (for) Monday.”
I will NOT be in London next Monday. But I will be in London on all the other days.
I’m excluding Monday from the list of days that I will be in London.