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Sit on the fence

[ 2010-01-14 11:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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Sit on the fence

Lee Hannon

Reader's question:

Jack sat on the fence for weeks before he made up his mind to go out for baseball instead of track. A good choice for the school: he turns out to be the best player on the team.

Could you explain “sit on the fence”?

Sit on the fence is an idiomatic expression used to represent indecision or a refusal to takes sides in a dispute. It is often used in politics to describe someone’s neutral stance or inability to make a clear choice between two possibilities.

Picture an image of someone straddling a fence with a foot on each side. For example, think of an election between two candidates with differing policies and agendas. If you’re unable to make a choice between which one to vote for you could be described as sitting on the fence. Or a committee may stand accused of sitting on the fence if they are unable to make a tough decision on an issue.

It can also be used to describe someone who is impartial and does not want to comment one way or the other. Like should the death penalty be abolished? You may have a strong view but do not wish to express it, so you could say “I am sitting on the fence.”


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About the author:

Lee Hannon is a journalist at China Daily website with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.