What is the difference between center and middle?Which sentence is correct:

The book in the center of the table.


The book is in the middle of the table.

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    The definitions in many dictionaries are very similar, so I don't think this should be closed. I think it is difficult for a learner to tell whether two different words might have a difference in nuance or usage simply by looking at dictionary definitions. – ColleenV Mar 3 '16 at 14:00
  • Duplicate question from the English Language and Usage SE. – adib Mar 5 '18 at 5:43

Middle and center often have the same meaning, especially to the general public.

However, if you work in a more technical profession, such as Engineering or Architecture (and others), we tend to use the word center when we want to be more technical - for example - "the center of a circle" or "the center of the diagram." These are examples when we need the exact coordinates of the geometric center.

Middle is more general. We don't care if the book is in the exact geometric center of the table, as long as it looks like it is in the middle.

You will find that outside of these technical professions, English speakers use the two words in the same way, with the same meaning.

Hope this helps!


Middle just means intermediate, and isn't specific. However, centre is the specific geometrical (or geographical or whatever one works on) middle.

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    Welcome to ELL. Please elaborate on your answer, perhaps use examples to explain why you think your answer is right. Examples tend to help the OP understand the answers much better. – Varun Nair Oct 9 '17 at 10:36

The simple answer I got is:

Center is between Right and Left and Middle is between Top and Bottom

Middle can be center but center can't be middle.

this is my own research, I hope this can help others.

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    Can you provide a reference for this? What is the source of your research? In general, we value references to reputable resources, like well-known dictionaries. – Em. Jun 20 '20 at 6:00

if we will type sentence in excel sheet. that column top and bottom space is equal so we can say sentence is in middle. in same column when we will count sentence right and left space and make it in center so it will be in center so row wise is center and column wise is middle

  • Please address the given context with an authoritative explanation. Using Excel as an example does not seem reflective of the given context and everyday usage. – Em. Jan 20 '19 at 22:10

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