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General Writing and Grammar Help/Stand BY someone - Stand BEHIND someone

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there any difference between "to stand BY someone" and "to stand BEHIND someone"?

If so, when should I used each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Thank you,

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is there any difference between "to stand BY someone" and "to stand BEHIND
someone"?

If so, when should I used each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** In many instances, the two phrases mean the same thing:  If you STAND BY or STAND BEHIND someone, you are showing your support for that person or for that person's ideas or beliefs.  The "standing" in both examples is figurative; you do not actually put your body by or behind the other person.

HOWEVER, there are many instances in which you DO move your body into position.  Here are some examples:

The bride and groom STOOD BY each other during the wedding ceremony.

I STOOD BY my mother at my father's funeral.

Will you STAND BY me to watch the fireworks?

I intend to STAND BEHIND John when he appears before the judge.

John is very tall, so he STOOD BEHIND his friends when the photographer took the group picture.

At a wedding, the best man usually STANDS BEHIND the groom.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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