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either both Options
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 12:57:15 PM

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What's the difference?

The chair was on either side of the fireplace.

The chair was on both sides of the fireplace.
BobShilling
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 1:21:26 PM
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Location: Beroun, Stredocesky, Czech Republic
The chair (singular) could be on only one side of the fireplace.
PlanetOfGiants
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 1:49:07 PM

Rank: Member

Joined: 7/4/2014
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BobShilling wrote:
The chair (singular) could be on only one side of the fireplace.


Despite that, in some car parks (and roads) you see signs reading "Use Both Lanes" or similar.

In car parks it would be impossible without crashing the car!

On roads, it would be hazardous to other road users!

The reason for the signs saying both is because traffic is treated as an entity; traffic is made up of individual persons each of which expecting to see a sign reading "Use Either Lane".

Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 2:24:17 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 1,482
Neurons: 17,582
BobShilling wrote:
The chair (singular) could be on only one side of the fireplace.


Sorry, a mistake.


The chairs were on both sides of the fireplace.

FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 5:37:28 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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Ivan Fadeev wrote:
BobShilling wrote:
The chair (singular) could be on only one side of the fireplace.


Sorry, a mistake.


The chairs were on both sides of the fireplace.


It's ambiguous, but most people would assume there were chairs, one on each side of the fireplace.

The sentence gives the impression there are multiple chairs on both sides of the fireplace, and that might be true, but we would assume only one chair is meant. That's the way it's usually done.
Ivan Fadeev
Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 1:00:23 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/21/2015
Posts: 1,482
Neurons: 17,582
How would you understand this:

There was a chair on both sides of the fireplace.

Would you take it to mean that there was the same chair (which is not possible in our reality) on each side?
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