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Center drive elliptical trainers are the newest, so not as much is known about this design in the way of durability and maintenance. Center drive means that the fly wheel, or drive system, is located on either side of the trainer rather than the front or back.

What does the phrase “on either side” mean in this context?

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    More context would be useful, but most likely this is part of some assembly instructions where the user is being told that he can mount the flywheel on either side of the trainer (in some way, this is a choice). Even if the (single) flywheel could somehow be located on both sides of something (which doesn't make much sense to me), this isn't how that would be described. May 26, 2021 at 12:13
  • @FumbleFingers Please don't give answers in comments, it is against the site rules.
    – Astralbee
    May 26, 2021 at 12:33
  • @MichaelHarvey: I don't understand. It might be "difficult" for me to conceptualise a single flywheel positioned on both sides of an elliptical trainer (whatever that is), but I certainly don't think that means such a thing can't exist. And there are obviously many contexts (There's a wide margin on either side of the text) where "either" means "both". So without additional context, I think we're just guessing here, or relying on "domain-specific knowledge" (Off Topic?) that goes beyond the basics of how English works. May 26, 2021 at 13:26
  • @MichaelHarvey: Oh, right. So the answer is dependant on domain-specific knowledge, and my initial "need more context" comment was apposite. I didn't actually closevote for lack of detail at the time - but someone else apparently has, and I've now done the same. The OP has his answer anyway, but this is more a matter of knowing about the design of an exercise machine, rather than learning how English works. May 26, 2021 at 14:06
  • @FumbleFingers Sorry about that. I'm new to this, and I thought a condensed version would be better. Here is the original sentence, "Center drive elliptical trainers are the newest, so not as much is known about this design in the way of durability and maintenance. Center drive means that the fly wheel, or drive system, is located on either side of the trainer rather than the front or back." And I posted this question to learn how English works. I didn't understand the phrase despite googling it; hence I thought I'd ask here. Thanks for correcting it.
    – Tatata
    May 26, 2021 at 16:15

1 Answer 1

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  • 'Either' means you have a choice of two.
  • 'Both' means that your statement applies to the two, equally.

For example, if someone held out two different flavour jellybeans and said you can have both, you can take two; if they said you can take either, you can take just one, but have the choice.

So, there is a difference, but in certain contexts such as your example, they can essentially mean the same. For example, if you said "there are restrooms on both sides of the auditorium" it would convey the same information as if you said, "there are restrooms on either side of the auditorium" - either way, a person can only use one or the other.

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