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Quick answer
"Back and forth" is an adverb which is often translated as "de un lado para otro", and "side to side" is a phrase which is often translated as "de lado a lado". Learn more about the difference between "back and forth" and "side to side" below.
back and forth(
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (from side to side)
a. de un lado para otro
The lamp rocked back and forth and then fell over.La lámpara se meció de un lado para otro y entonces se cayó.
2. (from one place to another)
a. de acá para allá
When my sister was dating that guy in Chicago, she was always traveling back and forth.Cuando mi hermana estaba saliendo con aquel chico en Chicago, siempre estaba viajando de acá para allá.
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side to side(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. de lado a lado
The basketball player moved side to side on the court.El jugador se movió de lado a lado en la cancha de baloncesto.
b. un lado a otro
The patient felt pain as he moved his head side to side.El paciente sintió dolor cuando movió su cabeza de un lado a otro.
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