This question already has an answer here:
- “Centered on” or “centered around” 5 answers
I have seen the discussions of "to center on" vs "to center around", and usually the argument is that "to center X around Y" is illogical. The counter-argument is generally that it is an idiom and therefore does not have to be logical. However, I do not see why this phrase is illogical.
To me, there are clearly to ways that "to center" can be used:
- Putting X in the center of Y.
- Putting the center of X on Y
The first meaning obviously doesn't make sense with "about". You can't center a picture around a page. But in the context of second meaning, I find it is perfectly logical to center X around Y, eg. "to center a circle around a point". "At" and "on" also make sense here, but so does "around".
So why is it necessary to invoke the argument of the idiom? Am I misunderstanding something?
Edit: This is not a duplicate of this question. Most answers there just state it is illogical, not why. The few that do only say that it is illogical since to center X is to put X in the center, which is only the first meaning I mentioned. The answer of user oosterwal comes close but only talks about a set of multiple.
I would like to know why it is illogical to center for example a hullahoop around a candle, i.e. putting the candle in the center of the hullahoop.
Moreover, even the idiomatic use seems logical to me, since for example arguments centered around a main point seem more meant in this second meaning, rather than them being in the center of something.