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In this question on the Movies & TV Stack Exchange the question starts with the following observation:

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who portrayed a character in The Hunger Games, passed away during the middle of filming for the Mockingjay movies.

I am not a native speaker, but to me this sounds incorrect. It looks like a combination of "during filming" and "in the middle of filming" (and even "during filming" doesn't feel right).

  • "In the middle of" does seem to be much more frequent according to the Google Ngram viewer: books.google.com/ngrams/… – herisson Dec 1 '15 at 10:32
  • You have a good feel for the language. It sounds slightly off to me (though 'during filming' sounds fine), but I'd say it's acceptable. There are many Google hits for "during the middle of"; it's really a colloquial shortening of 'during the middle section / portion etc', and used here as part of the even longer 'at some time during the middle part of the filming'. Although 'during' normally refers to durative rather than punctive events, it's not unacceptable here. English is often not well-behaved; compare 'This glass is very full'. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '15 at 10:38
  • Yes, it's a bit sloppy, if you think about it, but in common speech the meaning is quite clear, and most listeners wouldn't get distracted by it. – ralph.m Dec 1 '15 at 13:16
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    There's nothing wrong with it. – Hot Licks Apr 30 at 17:19
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In terms of getting the message across, I don't see any problem using during the middle of in the sentence. However, it would be more idiomatic to use during the course of or during the process of as the below Ngram Viewer shows:

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When you put during the middle of filming, there is no result in Ngram Viewer as follows:

Edit: As suggested by the below comment, in the process of filming and in the course of filming seem to be more broadly used than during.

enter image description here

  • And "in the course of" and "in the process of" are more frequent than "during the course of" and "during the process of." – herisson Dec 1 '15 at 10:38
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    But 'during the middle of' further suggests 'on day 35 (rather than 2 or 61) out of 64' say. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 1 '15 at 10:39

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