arms by your side - why not sides?

studor

New Member
Chinese
I saw this sentence: Stand with your arms by your side and your head erect.
What I was thinking about is that a person has two arms(right and left)...
And, so, there should be two sides...:confused: But here the 'side' is singular.
 
  • Scholiast

    Senior Member
    <<Inappropriate comment deleted.>>

    This idiom ("...with your arms by your side") is so common, however, perhaps he may be forgiven for asking, and I for attempting an answer.

    My explanation is that "by your [my/his/her &c.] side" is felt to be an adverbial phrase in its own right, rather like "at home":

    '"Where are your friends now?" "They are all at home"' - when what is meant is that they are all in their (separate and several) dwellling-places.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    studor

    New Member
    Chinese
    <<Inappropriate comment deleted.>>

    This idiom ("...with your arms by your side") is so common, however, perhaps he may be forgiven for asking, and I for attempting an answer.

    My explanation is that "by your [my/his/her &c.] side" is felt to be an adverbial phrase in its own right, rather like "at home":

    '"Where are your friends now?" "They are all at home"' - when what is meant is that they are all in their (separate and several) dwellling-places.
    Thank you. Now I understand the answer, and thanks for the reminder too.
    I will try to explain my enquiries more clearly in futrue.:)
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
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