I'm writing a song and there is a line:

When they got heaven by their sides

I am not sure whether side or sides is correct in this context. Thanks!

  • You can ask this question, but it's worth pointing out that lyricists often bend the rules of grammar to suit their purpose, whether it's to set a folksy feel, or to preserve a rhyming scheme. Come gather 'round people wherever you roam / And admit that the waters around you have grown / And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone (hmm... not "bones") – Bob Dylan, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner.
    – J.R.
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:10

This depends on what your intended meaning is.

If you mean to say "they" as in a group have heaven by their side, then you need to use side because you are talking about the entire group having heaven on their side.

If you mean each individual person has heaven by their sides, then you use sides because there is more than one person's side. Your intended meaning will affect this.

  • What if the lyric was: When they have flowers in their hand(s) – would it need to be plural then? What if you imagined fifty people who all were holding flowers in one hand, but not both hands?
    – J.R.
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:04
  • I guess it really depends on what you are trying to say. Does the WHOLE group "they" have heaven on their side, or does each individual person have heaven on their sides..maybe my answer was a little too sweeping. Any suggestions on editing it?
    – Element115
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:07
  • I think it was too sweeping, and I do suggest you edit it. :-)
    – J.R.
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:11
  • Edited to be more accurate:-)
    – Element115
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:18
  • 1
    Glad I could help. The future more contextual clues to work with in your question can be helpful.
    – Element115
    Mar 1 '18 at 22:24

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