This is one of the examples from cambridge dict

Do you play any other sports besides basketball?

Oxford dict consider "besides" and "aside from" are synonyms.

Assume the guy being asked loves basketball and baseball, are "aside from" and "besides" exchangeable in the example sentence?


Synonyms are not always freely interchangeable. Sometimes there may be different shades of meaning. Sometimes different grammatical forms may be needed.

In the case given in the question, however, "besides" and "aside from" have essentially the same meaning, and can be substituted without changing the meaning of the sentence:

  • Do you play any other sports besides basketball?

  • Do you play any other sports aside from basketball?

Also, the word "other" is redundant here, and the following also have the same meaning:

  • Do you play any sports besides basketball?

  • Do you play any sports aside from basketball?

All of these more or less imply that the person addressed (that is, the person who is being asked the question) does play basketball, although not absolutely. The following example makes that more explicit, but otherwise has much the same meaning:

  • Do you play any sports in addition to basketball?

Which of these alternatives to choose is a matter of style, not of grammar or meaning.

  • Thanks for your answer. Does "the person addressed" refer to the guy asks the question or the one be asked? It seems to be the former grammatically, and the latter semantically. – fu DL Sep 16 '19 at 1:59
  • @fuDL By "the person addressed" I meant the person to whom the question is addressed, the person who must answer the question. I was thinking of the question as being, perhaps, part of an application for a sports scholarship, and so the prospective awardee would be the person addressed. I have edited the answer. – David Siegel Sep 16 '19 at 2:08
  • @fuD Thanks for the heads up. Typos corrected. – David Siegel Sep 16 '19 at 3:43

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