Is It Correct to Say “As an Aside”?

Marcus Froland

Welcome, dear reader! Today, we’ll explore the idiomatic expression “as an aside” and its implications in casual conversations. If you’ve ever wondered about the phrase’s grammatical correctness, its origins, or its proper usage, you’ve come to the right place. By understanding the context and the adverbial nature of this expression, you’ll be better equipped to use it effectively in your own speech.

Understanding the Idiomatic Expression “As an Aside”

“As an aside” is an idiomatic expression that communicates something indirectly related to the main discussion or intended for a limited audience’s ears. The term “aside” refers to a remark or comment made quietly so not everyone hears it and is typically used to add to or digress slightly from what has previously been stated. It is an important adverbial term that specifies how additional comments are introduced, usually in informal or casual speech.

There are various factors that contribute to the widespread use of this phrase in everyday language. Some of the most notable factors include:

  1. The flexibility of the phrase allows it to be used in different contexts, making it a practical addition to one’s vocabulary.
  2. Its ability to introduce additional thoughts while maintaining the flow of the conversation.
  3. Its association with subtlety and indirectness, adds a layer of nuance to a speaker’s communication.

“As an aside” is often used to provide additional context, insight, or personal remarks that may be relevant to the conversation without diverging completely from the original topic. The phrase serves as a bridge between ideas, allowing speakers to share their thoughts while staying on track.

For example, consider the following statement: “I really like this new restaurant; as an aside, have you tried their dessert menu?” Here, the speaker is expressing their fondness for the restaurant while simultaneously and subtly introducing a new topic to discuss – the dessert menu. This highlights the idiomatic nature and practical usage of the phrase in casual contexts.

Understanding the nuances of “as an aside” helps us to communicate more effectively in day-to-day conversations.

The Usage of “As an Aside” in American English

In American English, “as an aside” is frequently used in conversation to add a comment that may not be central to the main topic being discussed. It’s both an adverb and an idiomatic expression, indicating that what follows is slightly off-topic or not intended for all participants in the discussion. This usage is prevalent in everyday communication and serves to convey subtlety and indirectness in speech.

There are several instances where utilizing “as an aside” can add depth and richness to a conversation. For instance, one might use the expression to:

  • Inject humor or a witty remark without derailing the main topic.
  • Share a personal anecdote or observation that might otherwise seem out of place.
  • Privately address a specific member of the group without excluding others.

When navigating different conversational settings and topics, “as an aside” can play a pivotal role in seamlessly transitioning between ideas, maintaining a casual tone, and fostering a sense of connection among speakers.

It was then that she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chef. As an aside, she also became quite the wine connoisseur along the way.

Note: “as an aside” is best suited for informal contexts, such as casual conversations among friends or in storytelling. While it may be tempting to use this phrase in more formal writing, it is generally discouraged, as it can create confusion and detract from the authority and clarity of the main message. In professional settings, alternative expressions such as “additionally” or “moreover” might be more appropriate.

Examples and Contexts of Using “As an Aside”

There are various examples that demonstrate the use of “as an aside” in sentences. This idiomatic phrase can help introduce tangential thoughts smoothly and conversationally. Let’s examine a few instances of how this expression can be integrated into everyday interactions.

  1. During a book group discussion: When talking about the book’s plot, one could say, “As an aside, did anyone see the football match last night?” In this case, the speaker is detouring from the main conversation for a brief moment to bring up a different topic of interest.
  2. Introducing a personal comment unrelated to the conversation: One could say, “I love this restaurant, as an aside; do you want to meet here again?” This remark diverges from the main context to share a personal viewpoint with the other person.
  3. Sharing a side note in a group project setting: In a team meeting discussing project deadlines, a participant might say, “As an aside, our department received new laptops last week.” This statement highlights an unrelated event that may be interesting or relevant to the other attendees but is not the primary focus of the discussion.

These examples reveal how “as an aside” can be used to smoothly shift the conversation for a short time, allowing speakers to share thoughts or information that might not directly relate to the main topic. Utilizing this phrase effectively can enhance the natural flow of a conversation, ensuring that the detour does not disrupt the overall dialogue.

The Adverbial Nature of the Phrase “As an Aside”

When you use the phrase “as an aside” in a conversation, you are employing an adverbial phrase that helps describe how you are adding information to the discussion. To better grasp the concept, let us first look at the meaning of the word “aside” on its own.

The term “aside” implies that the remark being made is somewhat separate from the main conversation, often spoken quietly or intended for a select few. In this context, “as an aside” assists in modifying the way you present information, providing valuable context as to how it relates to the main topic being discussed.

“We had a great time at the beach yesterday. Oh, as an aside, I bumped into Sarah at the grocery store on our way back.”

In this instance, the speaker uses the adverbial phrase “as an aside” to introduce a detail that is not directly related to the main topic but is still worth mentioning. The use of “as an aside” signals that this additional information is somewhat tangential or secondary to the main conversation.

To further clarify the adverbial nature of “as an aside,” let’s take a look at some of the key characteristics of this phrase:

  1. It is often placed at the beginning of a sentence, immediately followed by a comma.
  2. It adds extra information or a personal remark to the main conversation.
  3. It can either be a part of a single sentence or be used to connect one sentence to another.
  4. It helps give context to the speaker’s intentions and tone.

Overall, the adverbial phrase “as an aside” serves as a useful tool in crafting informal and conversational language, helping effectively convey thoughts that are not central to the main discussion but are still of significance to the speaker or the listener.

Correct Grammar and Punctuation When Using “As an Aside”

Using “as an aside” is a great way to introduce an off-topic comment or indirect information in a conversation. To ensure your message comes across clearly and is grammatically correct, it’s important to learn how to properly use and punctuate this phrase. Let’s look at some guidelines for using “as an aside” in sentences and tips to ensure it’s in compliance with grammar and punctuation rules.

Firstly, you can use “as an aside” at the beginning of a sentence. When doing so, it is typically set off by a comma to differentiate the aside from the main idea of the sentence. For example: As an aside, I asked him how things were going with his girlfriend. In this sentence, “as an aside” is followed by a comma, making it clear that the following statement is not central to the main conversation.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that your use of “as an aside” in writing or speech is effectively structured and punctuated, allowing your intended message to come across persuasively.

Appropriate Settings for the Phrase “As an Aside”

The phrase “as an aside” is quite versatile and popular in everyday American English. However, when it comes to using this expression, it is essential to understand the settings and contexts where it would be most fitting. This section will discuss the distinctions between informal and formal speech and how this affects the appropriateness of using “as an aside.”

Informal speech encompasses casual conversations between friends, family members, or colleagues. In these situations, using “as an aside” can be comfortable and natural, allowing speakers to share additional thoughts or remarks that are not necessarily the focal point of the conversation. For example, one could say, “I need to buy new shoes this weekend – oh, as an aside, have you seen Mary’s latest Facebook post?” Here, the aside adds an interesting tidbit without disrupting the main topic.

Informal settings to use “as an aside”:

  • Personal conversations
  • Social media exchanges
  • Friendly discussions in group chats or message boards
  • Casual dialogues in storytelling or creative writing

On the other hand, formal speech is found in professional, academic, or official settings, where maintaining a formal tone and adhering to proper language rules is expected. In these instances, using “as an aside” may not be suitable, as it can convey a more relaxed tone and indicate a level of intimacy or casualness not appropriate for the context. Instead, opting for alternative expressions like “additionally” or “by the way” can be more fitting.

Formal settings where “as an aside” should be avoided:

  • Business communication, including emails and presentations
  • Academic writing, such as research papers or scholarly articles
  • Speeches, news articles, or op-eds with a formal tone
  • Legal documents or formal proposals

Understanding the differences between informal and formal speech is crucial when deciding whether to use the phrase “as an aside.” Using this expression in the right context can add depth and character to your conversations while avoiding it in more formal settings ensures you maintain an appropriate level of professionalism and respect.

Alternative Expressions to “As an Aside”

While “as an aside” is a handy phrase for casual conversation and communication, it can sometimes be replaced with synonyms or alternative expressions that carry a similar meaning. These alternatives enable speakers to vary their language and can be used following the tone and context of the conversation.

One such alternative is “by the way,” which also works to introduce an off-topic or tangential comment and can be used in a very similar way. For example, instead of saying “As an aside, have you seen that movie?”, you could say, “By the way, have you seen that movie?” This phrase is equally informal and can be used in light-hearted conversations.

Another option is “incidentally,” which can introduce a related comment or idea indirectly and is slightly more formal than “as an aside.” For instance, you could say, “Incidentally, I’m meeting with our colleague later today to discuss the project.” This expression works well when you want to steer the conversation in a specific direction.

In conclusion, several different expressions can be used to replace “as an aside” in various contexts and tones. Incorporating alternative phrases like “by the way” or “incidentally” can help add variety and depth to your speech, making your conversations more engaging and dynamic.