I came across the phrase here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~wkneelan/thirdoption/essays/tmnt_music.htm

The listener or viewer is therefore stuck being told what is just as easily observed

I tried googling the phrase normally and by exact matching. I found some example sentences like: stuck being someone, stuck being weak, stuck being stupid, etc. I think the meaning is clear to me in these sentences: the speaker is and will continue to be something.

But what does a sentence like stuck being told mean? Consecutive verbs confuse me!

If you have any information about the grammatical structure of the sentence or etymology, it would be very useful.

  • 1
    I wonder if they meant to say "stuck with being told". That would make more sense.
    – pfalstad
    Oct 9, 2019 at 0:01
  • 1
    @pfalstad Stuck with does seem more natural.
    – user22360
    Oct 9, 2019 at 19:08

4 Answers 4


'stuck' = 'deal with'

It is not "stuck being", but simply "stuck" that explains it.

Generally, English talks in pictures (AKA figuratively). The picture here is someone "stuck", such as in the mud or with a foot stuck under something, and can't move. If you are "stuck", then you can't get out and are forced to "deal with" the situation you can't get out of.

In your situation, you could rephrase it:

deal with being told


deal with (Collins)

  1. If you deal with an unpleasant emotion or an emotionally difficult situation, you recognize it, and remain calm and in control of yourself in spite of it.

Grammar and structure

Here is one way of understanding it:

stuck: Predicate Adjective

being: Helping Verb for passive "told"

told: Verb, Passive

Alternate examples of the phrase:

I am 50 years old and still being told what to do.

You are stuck with me, so get used to it.

He is stuck having to tell us what to do.

We wanted to watch the game ourselves, but instead we are being told about the game.

  • @user22360 Politely I want to say that this is actually what it means. The speaker is being told something and is forced to hear it and that's all that can be done. It is a frustrating situation for the speaker.
    – Jesse
    Oct 19, 2019 at 7:49
  • and are forced to "deal with" the situation you can't get out of. I don't agree with this because I don't think there's anything that implies the meaning you mentioned. The speaker is simply said he's stuck, and not that he is forced to deal with it. And sorry for the frequent deletes.
    – user22360
    Oct 19, 2019 at 8:28
  • @user22360 It's a figure of speech and that's what it means in English.
    – Jesse
    Oct 19, 2019 at 8:30
  • 1
    OK, now that the meaning is clear I need to know more about the grammatical structure. I edited the question to inform people about that.
    – user22360
    Oct 20, 2019 at 19:12
  • Thrilled to expand to fit the expansion! Bear in mind this is not a full, complete grammar breakdown, just one way an experienced native speaker thinks of it.
    – Jesse
    Oct 20, 2019 at 21:22

Yesterday I said it sounded wrong, but I looked at it again today and now it makes perfect sense. It's short for "stuck with", but the "with" is often left out. Phrases like "stuck being single" and the other examples you found are very common. This sentence is a little more convoluted, but it means that the listener or viewer is merely being told something, when it would be preferable to observe it for themselves.

  • Sounds good, but what about the grammatical structure of the sentence?
    – user22360
    Oct 11, 2019 at 12:23
  • @user22360 "Show, don't tell" is a technique used in writing. This sentence is accusing something of telling what should have been shown. This is described from the reader's point of view. The reader is told what is just as easily seen. Oct 20, 2019 at 23:01

To be stuck is literally to be unable to get out of an undesirable position. Its complement can take various forms:

  • My driver is stuck in traffic, so I am stuck at the station.
  • My spouse is stuck working, so I am stuck with the children.
  • My spouse is stuck at work, so I am stuck babysitting.

By extension, it can also mean having to settle for an inferior alternative:

  • I'd rather drive a smaller car, but I am stuck driving this clumsy van.
  • I'd rather have a smaller car, but I am stuck with this clumsy van.

with can be added to some of my examples, but it changes the structure: in "I am stuck driving", driving is a participle describing me, but in "I am stuck with driving", driving is a noun, the activity itself.

I agree with some other answers that stuck with being told would be clearer. The audience would rather observe directly, but has to settle for the inferior alternative of narration.


I read the article linked in this post, and I think that sentence you're asking about is a little awkward. "Stuck being told" doesn't really work in this context very well because generally "stuck" doesn't take "being" after it.

Something can be stuck, but something can't be "stuck being something". One can be "stuck in", "stuck on", "stuck with", and many more, but "stuck being" doesn't usually sound natural.

If I had to rewrite the sentence, I'd write along the lines of:

The listener or viewer has the Turtles' attributes listed to them - a useless explanation, as these qualities are easily observed throughout the show.

  • 1
    It does sound weird. But what about the 50+ people in Google results that use it? Could it be an uncommon accent?
    – user22360
    Oct 9, 2019 at 19:17
  • If it is, I've never heard it. I'd regard it as a mistake/awkward if I heard it.
    – user45266
    Oct 10, 2019 at 15:51

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