I need an alternative idiom for 'A coin has 2 sides' to make my writing piece look richer and comprising broader lexical resource.

I am writing a discussion essay, and I wish to say something unique and new for expressing "Just like there are only a few things which do not have both positives and negatives, ABC also has both advantages and disadvantages."

Is it correct to say it as: "As we know there are few things in this world that do not have two-faced implications, ABC also has both pros and cons." Please correct me and also let me know alternative ways to say this!

I already know: "Every cloud has a silver lining" and "A coin has two sides." So please share some new alternatives. Thanks.

  • 5
    Though the meaning is about the same, I don't usually hear, "A coin has two sides." Instead, the wording is typically, "There are two sides to every coin." Also, I think you probably want to avoid "two-faced implications." Two-faced doesn't mean "having two sides," rather, it means "dishonest and deceitful."
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 2:33
  • 1
    It took me a minute to get the "positi-"ves and "negati+"ves. I've never seen that notation before. I typically will use: (informal) "pluses and minuses" or "+'s and -'s" (even more informal)
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 6:16
  • May i know what is a full-form of ABC that you have used here by giving an example as: "ABC also has both advantages and disadvantages." ? I googled this and got one full-form is "American Broadcasting Company".
    – TMA
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 6:20

5 Answers 5


An idiom that could be useful here is that of the double-edged sword, which indicates that something positive and useful in one scenario can be negative in another, and may even be used against you. A double-edged sword cuts both ways. The idiom is typically used in situations where the negatives are not obvious, and may come as a surprise.

Working with the example, you could say something like this: "For all of its advantages, ABC is something of a double-edged sword." Then proceed by describing disadvantages of ABC.


You might say, "As we know, nothing interesting is ever completely one-sided."

  • One liners are better as comments.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 5:43
  • 6
    I typically try to use comments for comments and for answers when I think the question is off-topic but I want to be helpful, or for when I think that I can provide only a partial answer either because I don't know the full answer or I don't have time to provide a full answer. I think the answer I posted here, stands just fine as an answer. Note that OP himself offered the equally short, "Every cloud has a silver lining," and "A coin has two sides" which I assume he might have accepted if he hadn't already known them and was looking for alternatives.
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 6:11
  • 2
    @Jim Agreed - as long as there's an appropriate solution, one liners are acceptable answers.
    – Nitika
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 9:42
  • 4
    I think short answers should be allowed if they answer the question. Elaborating is often appropriate and helpful, but it's not always necessary, and we shouldn't require people to pad out a complete answer just to hit some arbitrary length threshold.
    – user230
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 9:57
  • 4
    I've gone around with a few people on this subject as well. If a complete answer is a short answer as well, then elaborating on it for the sake of form violates the form follows function principle. I'm in the short answer camp.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:10

As you can imagine, the phrase you might use would vary depending on the identity of ABC.

Your original line, written as close to the original but corrected for grammar and meaning. It's still a bit clumsy, but not exceptionally so: "As we know, there are few things in this world that do not have two sides; ABC also has both pros and cons."

Here are a few that came to mind, including the sort of context in which they might be used.

Black and white
Generally for a moral issue, particularly one you may have been arguing strongly for or against, but now want to introduce the opposite position. This almost always used in the negative ("not black and white".) It means that a wise opinion on the matter is not simple (black or white), but contains "shades of grey." (That's another good idiom that almost applies to your question.)

ex: "I've been telling you about the ruthless behavior of the guerrilla forces, but honestly, the issue isn't black and white, the government in this area has been committing crimes against its people for decades."

Two sides/two-sided
This means much like your two sides to every coin idiom, but it can be applied much more broadly. I would use this if I were talking about an argument between two people or organizations who had opposite points of view.

ex: "Mr. Smith says that his wife left him because she didn't love him anymore, but every story has two sides; she claims that he had a mistress."

This is not an idiom, but it is a wonderful word that means very much what you are searching for. A gem is cut with many facets that sparkle. Something that is multifaceted can be looked at from many points of view, with each point of view showing something new. It's generally a positive adjective when applied to people, not necessarily so when applied to events. It's not usually used for objects (except gems, perhaps, in its literal form.)

There's no such thing as a free lunch.
This is used after describing the many wonderful qualities of something, just before you lead into its costs. It could also be used derisively by someone who doesn't believe the wonderful things he or she is being told. Though it could be used to indicate that the financial cost of something will be high to compensate for its many wonderful qualities, it is typically used to indicate a significant negative quality other than high price.

ex: "The newest model electric cars use batteries that are cheaper, lighter, and last longer than older models' batteries. However, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and these batteries contain a wide range of toxic compounds that sometimes explode."

ex: Bob: "If you buy this car women will want you and men will want to be you. It costs less to operate than your current car and I can have you driving it today without any downpayment."

Jim: "There's no such thing as a free lunch. What's the catch?"

("What's the catch?" means "What are you not telling me?")


Instead of, "Every coin has two sides," you can use:

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction


In Russian there is an idiom "a stick has two ends" meaning that when you fight with a stick you can strike yourself when attempting to strike the opponent.

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