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She rested her legs on [either side /both sides] of my legs.

I placed the two bags of groceries on [either side/both sides] of my laptop.

Which is correct? Please provide an interpretation each for the choices.
Thanks.
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Hi N2G
As a rule, both are correct. A third choice is sometimes used:
There are trees on either side / on each side / on both sides of the street.

CB
I somehow feel when the intended meaning is one on each side, the both sides version makes the total sound like the total number of object is two times what is actually available, that is in my case, the total becomes 4 instead of the intended two. Do you feel the same way?
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If I have two plumbs in my hand and you ask if you can have ONE. I say, "yes you may have ONE". "Which ONE?" you ask. I say "either ONE". How does this mean both? either side is both but either plumb is one... right? this doesn't seem to make much sense.
Anonymous If I have two plumbs in my hand and you ask if you can have ONE. I say, "yes you may have ONE". "Which ONE?" you ask. I say "either ONE". How does this mean both? either side is both but either plumb is one... right? this doesn't seem to make much sense.
It's advised to check the dictionary for all the meanings/usages of the term "either".

1) either as an adjective means "each of two" (There were plum trees on either side of the road.

There were plum trees on each of the two sides of the road).

2) either as an adjective in common phrases also means "no matter which of two things" (Either tree will do for picking plums "It doesn't matter which tree we pick plums from").

3) either as a conjunction & adverb can mean "one or the other" (You can have either the plum in my right hand or the plum in my left.)

3) either as an adverb + a negative means "neither" (I don't want either of those plums. == I want neither of them.)

4) either as an adverb + a negative can also express similarity/likeness or agreement between two people/entities (You say you don't like plums? Well, I don't like them either!")

The common thread is that "either" always refers to TWO things related to each other in some way.

Moral of the story: words mean more than one thing but the context will determine the interpretation.

Neither is correct. The terms are not interchangeable and are confusing.

If you mean 'each side' why not say that. Either suggests choice of ONE. 'Each' clarifies your intent I think. 'Both' is just confusing - and ridiculous in the case of Legs. In the second example the reader doesn't know if you have 2 bags which you split one each side, or 4 bags split 2 each side.

Say 'Each side' to be clear to your listener or reader.
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AnonymousNeither is correct.
Both are acceptable. CB's answer, posted nearly five years ago, is still relevant today.

while using the word 'either' in a sentence like , either side of the road......,

I had a doubt whether it is either sides of the road, which one is correct usage, please advise

Please read the first answer in this thread. It is correct.

CJ

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