Beside oneself and beside the point

Grammarist

While beside is a synonym for besides, there are some phrases which use the word and are clearly defined one way or the other.

Beside oneself means to be overwhelmed with emotion, usually sadness, anger, or frustration. The oneself is reflexive, meaning it changes to himself or herself depending on the subject.

The phrase can be used by itself. However, for clarity or simply because of habit, the phrase is usually qualified by the emotion one is distraught by. For example, beside himself with anger or beside herself with anguish.

Beside the point means something is unimportant or not applicable to the current discussion.

Examples

Mr Zele said he was beside himself when he discovered it was missing. [Herald Sun]

David Cameron was so beside himself with anger that Ed Miliband had told the BBC he would weaponise the NHS that he felt obliged to turn himself into an out of control red-faced Dalek and repeat the word on every occasion possible at prime minister’s questions. [The Guardian]

While certainly ambitious, the idea currently lacks a total price tag, proposed legislation, and Republican support on Capitol Hill. But the White House says that’s beside the point at this stage. The president merely hopes “to start a conversation,” Obama domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz told reporters. [Yahoo News]

Yet whether gold puts on 13 per cent or loses 20 per cent in the short term is beside the point: They are simply moves which distract from the primary rationale for holding gold — as a store of value and a wealth protection strategy. [The Australian]

Leave a Comment