“À Côté de” means “next to”, “nearby” and is very used in French – but often avoided by French students. Here are my explanations with examples.

À Côté De = Next To

I know this preposition looks weird. But we use it a lot in French, and therefore you should get accustomed to hearing it and understanding it fast, and also try to use it yourself. Here are some examples.

J’habite à côté de l’école.
I live near the school.

Il travaille à côté de chez moi.
He works next to my house.

Note that “à côté de” is often used with another weird preposition: chez (at someone’s home).

À Côté = Nearby

Je reste à côté
I’ll stay nearby

Here, the de + place is not said, but understood. The sentence could be “je rest à côté de toi, d’ici – next to you, next to here” so it means nearby.

Un à Côté = Something on the Side, Something Extra

À côté can also be a noun: “un à côté” or “des à côtés” but it’s not very common in French. 

Ce travail à des à côtés très agréables.
This work has other benefits that are very nice.

Un Côté = A Side

The noun “un côté” is very common in French as well, and the preposition must come from it. It means a side.

Cette maison a un côté très ensoleillé.
This house as a very sunny side.

J’aime son côté amusant.
I like her/his funny side (trait of character).

Une Côte = A Coast, a Rib…

That is a totally different French word. Yes, an accent can change a lot in French. “Une Côte” means a coast, a slope, a rib… It’s also the name of wines produced in this region.

La Côte Sauvage en Bretagne est magnifique.
The Wild Coast in Brittany is gorgeous.

Il y a une grande côte avant d’arriver chez lui (we would also say “une pente”)
The is a big slope before getting to his house.

Ce soir, on mange une côte de boeuf.
Tonight, we’re eating a prime rib.

J’aime beaucoup le Côte de Provence.
I very much like the Coast of Provence wine.

Une Cote = A Quoted Value

Quelle est la cote en bourse de cette action?
What is the value in the stock market of this share?

Expressions Using Côté

And of course, there are many expressions using these words:

Être à côté de la plaque – to be way off-mark, to be clueless
Avoir la cote – to be very popular
Être côte-à-côte – to be side by side

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