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Which preposition should I use: on, at or by someone's side to mean to be in favour of somebody in an specific situation.

Please, I would also ask you to correct any minor mistake I have made and, If it's necessary, tell me if there is a better way to say what I am trying to convey.

Thanks in advance!

5 Answers 5

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I think the preposition you want to use is on.

To be at or by someone's side usually means a close, physical presence. It conjures up images like this one, where three friends are walking side-by-side:

enter image description here

To be on someone's side, though, usually means to be siding with them in an argument or dispute, or maybe supporting them in a tough situation.

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    by also has a figurative meaning. To be by someone's side suggests that you are there to provide help and support whenever needed even if you may not share the same objectives. Think of a president's wife standing by his side even if she disagrees with some of his policies.
    – Readin
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 5:18
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    "on" is also the term used for people who are on the same side of a sports team. If I am "by" Joe's side, then I am physically near him. If I am "on" his side, that simply means that we try to achieve the same goals, although I might be on the opposite side of the field/court than him.
    – TOOGAM
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 13:04
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be on somebody's side

to support and agree with someone

  • I'm definitely on your side in this.
  • Whose side are you on anyway?

From Oxford dictionary

You can also say: I side with you. Meaning to agree with or support the opinions or actions of you.

If you say "stand at/by your side", it will figuratively mean remain loyal to someone.

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All three have different meanings.

Being at someones side usually refers to a physical location, e.g. standing besides someone.

Standing by someone means to render (emotional) support. You can stand by someone and support him/her even if you don't share his/her views.

Being on someone side means that you share his views and have the same opinion on that matter.

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You need to think of "side" being used in two slightly different ways. In the first the "side" is relative to the person being spoken to being the "middle" and there are two areas "beside" them. The second is assuming there's some other thing that is the "middle" and the person being spoken to is on one "side" of that middle.

enter image description here

"I am at your side" and "I am by your side" are using the first meaning. They mean "beside you". This could be meant literally as in they are physically beside you, or figuratively as in not actually being in the area your left or right but with you in a supporting way. "By" is more likely to be figurative than "at" but either could be meant either way.

"I am on your side" most likely means they see the situation as involving two or more opposed groups, and they are saying that they are in your group. As in "I am on your side of the argument."

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The preposition you should use is on

He is on my side.= He wants to help me/He supports me.

I stayed at/by his side.= I stayed with him.

She stood at my side.(next to me)

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  • How is your answer different or an improvement from user33000 or JR's?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 20:13

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