Side versus Sides

I know my beloved Anniversary is fickle and inconsistent and sometimes drives me crazy.  I’m going to vent:

And I can understand why, if “side” is written S-I, “sides” written as S-I-S can easily be transcribed wrong as “size.”  But why have “side” write S-I and yet “sides” as S-I-D-S?  That’s so obviously inconsistent.

For the record, I’ve been writing S-I-S for “sides” all these years, not knowing any better.


As much as I liked the functional method (“no rules!”), the system can have used a bit of tweaking.

4 comments Add yours
  1. I don't follow the reasoning here–although Marc has a good point about "expression," which I can't find any justification for either in Anni or Pre-Anni.

    But "side/sides" is a different bird. Here we have a single derivative that has to be written out to avoid a potential conflict. Are we supposed to lose a valuable abbreviation just because one word is excepted?

    The eight other outlines listed in the dictionary, plus words like "aside," "inside(r)," "outside(r)" should all therefore be written out just to accommodate the one oddball? Memorizing that single exception–it's just part of that legendary Anni memory load, the price we pay for (hopefully someday) achieving verbatim speed.

    I can't pull examples off the top of my head, but I don't think this is a unique example. And if such a principle were steadily applied–that we shouldn't abbreviate at all unless we can apply it uniformly across all derivatives without exception–wouldn't we lose some very valuable abbreviations?

  2. When I see an abbreviation I am glad it exists, and I feel a sense of relief for not having to write out a letter or more.
    "sides" and "size" are the same part of speech and are not easily distinguished from the context despite one's plurality, e.g.
    The SI(D)S of the truck ARE vs.
    The SIS of the truck IS

    This distinction is not even held up when the noun phrase is the object of the sentence, because the verb does not have to agree with it then.

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