For example:

A, B and C are different sides of the same coin.

Would sound odd since a coin only has two sides. Is there a better phrase for such situations?

  • 1
    Do you know of any coins with more than two faces? – Mick Dec 20 '16 at 5:24
  • 3
    I would not have asked this question if I did. If you something constructive to say, go on otherwise leave this thread alone. – Dojo Dec 20 '16 at 5:26
  • 1
    A better phrase for what kind of situations? Can you explain in more detail the idea you're trying to get across? That all sides are morally equivalent? That they all are different manifestations of the same underlying thing/rely on each other for existence? Something like the idea of the "trinity" in Christianity where there are three persons that are nonetheless somehow one? – herisson Dec 20 '16 at 5:47

The expression I've heard is "two sides of the same coin", not "two faces of the same coin". People usually talk about coins as being "heads" or "tails" so I'm not sure that it is appropriate to talk in terms of the coin having two "faces" (although it probably isn't really inaccurate).

  • 1
    Think you are spot on. I would just add that numismatists refer to the obverse and reverse of a coin. – Peter Point Dec 20 '16 at 6:59
  • Good point, Peter. I just rarely hear people using "obverse" and "reverse" of a coin in the same sense in common language. I suppose it really depends on the context of the expression. If I am talking to someone and using the metaphor to describe, say, a comparison between two people, I'd use "two sides of the same coin". – Paul Jacobson Dec 20 '16 at 7:08
  • Yes, it should have been two sides, not faces, I did not remember it right. So, how would you use that expression for more than two entities? – Dojo Dec 20 '16 at 8:53
  • I'd probably say something along the lines of: "X, Y and Z are indistinguishable" or "X's, Y's and Z's politics are virtually indistinguishable". You could also say that "X, Y and Z are very much alike" or just "X's, Y's and Z's opinions are very much alike". – Paul Jacobson Dec 20 '16 at 9:09

To me, it sounds a bit odd, especially if I knew there were more than 2 parties involved. And if I was not aware of the total number of parties, I would automatically assume there were only two.

If I wanted to say something along those lines, I'd probably use something like "different chapters out of the same book" or "same sport different team/stadium" instead.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.