"put her in the middle"

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New Member
<On the sunny day, when the school bell rings...
four of the girls are gathered and chatting about something, and then
when professor comes,
Professor: "I`m keeping an eye on you girls, the bell has rung five minutes ago!"
Student : "I was waiting for Will, professor,"
Professor: "Don`t put her in the middle! You need to be tactful given her situation.">

You see, the four of girls were actually talking about one of their friends, "Will" and her parent`s divorce.

Hello, guys.. ^^
I actually wanna know about the meaning of "put someone in the middle" in that sentence,
and also about the "given one`s situation"...

Does professor mean when she say "put her in the middle" as for not to talk about her among you girls for a topic of chattering?

and the "given her situation" means same as "you should be careful, she`s in the middle of situation of going through a hard time because her parents just got divorced"

Can anyone elaborate on that sentence for me please?
(Please help me to understand easier><)
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I don't recognise this idiom at all. I can only guess that the professor means that Will (strange name for a girl) and her circumstances should not be used as an excuse: don't bring Will into this (especially given her delicate situation).

    Where is this from? Perhaps it is a dated phrase, but it doesn't strike me as very natural.


    Senior Member
    US English
    This doesn't make complete sense to me.

    "Given her situation" is easy: "situation" refers to the parents' divorce. The word "situation" in English is often used to refer to a challenging circumstance or state of affairs that someone is going through. For example, "I'm in a difficult situation right now. I just lost my job, and I need medical treatment that I can't afford."

    Or, if you are talking to someone about a third person who is having problems, and you both know the details of that person's problems, you could say, "She is holding up remarkably well considering her situation." It is a shorthand way of referring to whatever she is going through without having to spell out the details since you already both know them.

    "Put in the middle" is a bit tricky here. I'm wondering if this is a British English vs. American English thing. (I say that because in the US, "Will" is pretty much exclusively a male name, and I'm guessing in Britain it could be short for Wilhelmina or some longer name like that."

    In AE, being "put in the middle" generally refers to getting involved in a conflict between two other people that doesn't really concern you or that you don't want to get pulled into.

    For example, let's say you have two friends, Mary and Jane, and they have had a fight because Jane things Mary is spreading gossip about her. Mary comes to you and asks you to take her side and defend her to Jane. You might say, "Don't put me in the middle here, that's between you and Jane", or, "I don't want to get in the middle here."

    Doesn't seem to quite apply to your example though, and I can't really see exactly what the meaning is here. Hope someone else can help enlighten both of us.


    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Yes, I agree with MatchingMole, the phrase "bring her into this" would fit much better. As KenInPDX said though, "put in the middle" is very common in AE.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, "bring her into this" would be more common in BE. However, I immediately understood "put her in the middle", and I think it's fine to use it.


    New Member
    Oh, thank you all, so much!

    But it seems also really weird to me, because I just brought that sentence from a magazine for children...from Disney(you might know well), and it actually made from Italy.... (then it ain`t a problem~~><


    I got others well on you guys' explanation (really thank you all!!), but about["given" her situation],
    can I think of "given" for the same meaning as.. "about", in grammatic way?
    ("about" her situation.. or something)

    Thank you again!
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