please, writers and speakers, stop saying “either side” when it’s not what you really mean to say.
for example, i’ll read/see/hear something like this: “there was a statue of a lion on either side of the door at the entrance to the library.” what they are trying to tell you is that there is a statue of a lion on the left as well as on the right. but when you say “either side,” that means “one side or the other.” not both. this is an error made by the best writers, in the best publications, nobody (except me) is innocent. i have never seen this written correctly, unless it was something that i happened to write.
to correctly say there was a lion on both sides, you have two choices:
1. there were statues of lions on both sides of the library door.
2. there was a statue of a lion on each side of the library door.
if you want to use “either side,” then here’s how it would be used correctly. “jim, put the box down on either side of the door.” that would be telling jim that he can put it on either the right or the left side. obviously not both.
work with me, people.