"There are two sides to every story” is a very old proverb; the Greek writer Aesop (620-564 BCE) in the fable “The Mule” wrote that “every truth has two sides.” For an example of two sides of a story, a husband and a wife can tell different stories about the same marriage.
The saying “There are three sides to every story—your side, his side and the truth” has been cited in print since at least 1936. In January 1937, the columnist Walter Winchell wrote that the recently deceased New York journalist Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) “may have coined it.” (His grandson, Arthur S. Brisbane, was appointed Public Editor of The New York Times in June 2010.)
In a 1960 comic strip, a husband said about his wife, “I always say there are two sides to every story...Ethel’s and the truth.” A merging on the “two sides/three sides” versions appeared by at least 1977, when hockey defenseman Joe Watson said, “There’s two sides to every story—then there’s the truth.”
The Free Dictionary
There are two sides to every question. and There are two sides to every story.
Prov. There are valid reasons for holding opposing opinions.
A mule that had grown fat and wanton on too great an allowance of corn was one day jumping and kicking about. At length, cocking up her tail, she exclaimed, “My mother was a racer, and I am quite as good as ever she was.” But being soon exhausted with her galloping and frisking, she remembered all at once that her father was but an ass.
Every truth has two sides. It is well to look at both before we commit ourselves to either.
11 November 1936, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Hollywood” by Sidney Skolsky, pg. 4, col. 4:
Harry Herschfield says there are three sides to every story. Your side, his side and the truth.
4 January 1937, Port Arthur (TX) News, Walter Winchell column, pg. 7, col. 5:
His favorite shop talk pepigram (he may have coined it) was: “There are three sides to every story. His, yours and the truth.”
(Arthur Brisbane, 1864-1936—ed.)
22 February 1937, Riverside (CA) Daily Press, “On the Rebound” by Wilbur Fogleman, pg. 13, col. 1:
According to Confucius—or was it some one else?—there are three sides to every story—yours, mine and the truth.
5 November 1960, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, comic strip, pg. 4, col. 6:
This Funny World—“I always say there are two sides to every story...Ethel’s and the truth.”
17 January 1964, Boston (MA) Globe, “Pension Vote Angers Brown”:
There are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.
January 1966, The Rotarian, pg. 18, col. 2:
As usual, there are two sides to every story. Maybe it’s three: your side, my side, and the truth.
-- MAX RUMBAUGH, Rotarian
East Los Angeles, California
Remembering Mr. Maugham
By Carson Kanin
(That saying Pop used to repeat: “There are three sides to every story — yours, his, and the truth.")
Google News Archive
7 May 1976, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “There are three sides to every story” by Ann Landers, pg. 3D, col. 5:
DEAR ANN LANDERS:
There are two sides to every story, Ann. —Been There
DEAR BEEN: Sometimes three. His side, her side, and the truth, which is usually somewhere in the middle. Thanks for a good letter.
Google News Archive
28 September 1977, Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan), “Teammates, opponents shocked that Gilbert through” (AP), pg. 25, col. 3:
Defenseman Joe Watson of the Flyers agreed, but added. “There’s two sides to every story—then there’s the truth.”
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Saturday, May 05, 2012 • Permalink