dorsetgirl (dorsetgirl) wrote in linguaphiles,

Meaning of "aside from" in British English

Someone posted this today:

"At the moment, aside from PlayerA, PlayerB, PlayerC, PlayerD and PlayerE are scheduled to play at < tournament name >"

My immediate response was "But I thought PlayerA had withdrawn?" because I read the post as meaning Players A to E would all be playing, as did another (non-native) commenter.

If I were writing that sentence myself, I would have used "apart from" rather than "aside from" (which sounds American to me), and I would have put "...are also scheduled to play" for the avoidance of any possible ambiguity, but as far as I know this is a non-native speaker, and I am fairly used to filtering out oddities in their use of the language. (The time when they used "alas" to mean "luckily" took a while to work out though...)

Anyway, the poster clarified that they meant Player A would not be playing and the rest would, but acknowledged that perhaps they had worded it wrongly. In a spirit of tactful helpfulness I replied that "aside from" and "apart from" [in this context] tend to mean "as well as", to which I got this reply from the non-native speaker:

"Not really. Most people use it to mean except."

So, now I’m questioning my use and understanding of my own language. I want to go back and say "Not where I come from, sunshine" but I thought I’d see what others have to say first! So, do you read the sentence above as meaning Player A is playing, or Player A is not playing?

I’m a native speaker of British English, and I know this poster lives in England so I’m guessing it’s British English they’re meaning to use. However, please do chip in with American English usage too.

(By the way, I want to clarify that I don't mean in any way to mock this person's use of English. It's infinitely better than my knowledge of whatever their native tongue is. It's just that they seem utterly convinced their English is perfect and I've never been comfortable with non-native speakers telling me I'm wrong in my own language!)
Tags: english

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