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I am writing an essay, would it be correct if I wrote this sentence:

The money given to professional sportsmen adds them to the list of the wealthiest men in the world side by side with businessmen and entrepreneurs.

Does the usage of “side by side with” sound natural here. And if not, what would be a better replacement?

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To my ear, in American English I’d opt for:

The money paid to professional sportsmen puts them on a list of the wealthiest men in the world, alongside businessmen and entrepreneurs.

In addition to the use of “alongside,” I’d pick this construction because:

  1. Salaries are paid or earned, rather than simply given (in the sense of a gift).
  2. You’re making a list, as the sentence refers to an abstract or conceptual list rather than a singular, definitive list such as the Forbes Annual List of Billionaires.
  3. Which list, and who else is on the list, seem like they should be distinct sentence clauses. Hence the added comma.

Note that word choice is often subjective, but “alongside” definitely sound more natural to me than “side by side with.”

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on a par with can be used to convey the idea you want to express:

at the same level or standard as (someone or something else) - The new version of the software is on a par with the old one. His new book is on par with his best sellers.

(M-W)

Anyway “side by side” does convey the same concept.

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