Not really. Perhaps the idea is "a little on the smaller side of average" but really it's just another way of saying "rather small". Likewise "on the young side, on the large side" etc....
I still have problems with "on the small side", can you please elaborate?...
It's kind of off-topic here, but basically what we have are different verbs that sometimes sound a lot alike but aren't used the same way and are conjugated differently. It's ridiculous, I know, but there it is. I'm sure some of your own grammar books talk about it because it's something that confuses many people, native and non-native speakers alike. Here's an article to get you started from Grammarist: lay vs. lie. You can also find numerous threads here in the EO forum.Thanks dear Kate.
I used to think it was 'laid'!! So what's this then?
Sorry, Kate, lay (here) is the past of lie; I think you've got yourself tangled.It's strange, I know, but lay is the past tense of the verb to lay. Does that answer your question?
Thanks, Keith.Sorry, Kate, lay (here) is the past of lie; I think you've got yourself tangled.
If written in the present tense, this sentence would be: 'It is no dream. His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lies quiet between the four familiar walls.'