Como falo em inglês: Ela tá em cima do muro – Inglês Online

Como falo em inglês: Ela tá em cima do muro

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Feb 09
Inglês Online Ela tá em cima do muro

How’s it going?  Hoje falamos sobre as expressões usadas para dizer que alguém está em cima do muro a respeito de alguma coisa, ou… simplesmente não decidiu ainda.


How’s it going? This is the new episode of the Inglês Online podcast.

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So today I’m gonna tell you about a very common idiom in the English language that is used to say that someone is neutral about something; or hesitant to choose a side in a discussion or competition. We say that person is sitting on the fence, or simply on the fence.

Let’s say a new film is out and all your friends want to go see it. You, however, have read the synopsis and can tell that there’s a lot of heavy drama in this film. You happen to not be a big fan of overly dramatic stories. What’s more, this film has been rated R for violence. Yep, lots of blood and gore. You can’t stand watching violent scenes. OK, I’m talking about myself – it’s true. I basically don’t go to the movies anymore except when it’s a comedy. So much drama and violence!

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Back to the example: so all your friends are excited and can’t wait for Saturday to arrive. That’s when they’re going to the theatre. The film does sound amazing; the actors are outstanding and critics are raving about it. Also, hanging out with your friends is always fun. So there are pros and cons to this. If you go, you get to spend time with your buddies and watch what is supposed to be a wonderful film; however you’ll have to endure some drama and cover your eyes when graphic scenes come up.

So when your good friend Sally rings you up wanting to know if you’re joining the gang on Saturday, you tell her that you’re still on the fence about watching this film. You’re undecided, you’re still hesitant to make a decision. “I’m still on the fence with this movie, Sally… Not sure it’ll be worth watching all the blood.”

You’re on the fence about watching this movie. Last week you were on the fence about buying a new computer since your old computer was still functional. You decided to go ahead and buy a new one. Last month your father was on the fence about going on vacation. He ended up deciding to postpone the vacation until next year.

Here’s another example:  you’ve been offered a new position in the company you work for. You’ve talked to your boss about it and he has been very understanding. You really like your current job; however, this new position pays better and is a bit more challenging. You’re still on the fence, though. The offer was extended to you a week ago and you haven’t decided yet. You’re still on the fence. Your boss then says “You’ve got to make up your mind. You can’t be sitting on the fence forever.”

Now, notice that the meaning of “sit on the fence” isn’t always exactly the same as ficar em cima do muro such as we use it in Brazil. When we say that in Portuguese, it usually communicates that someone doesn’t want to make a decision because they lack the courage to do so; because they don’t want to get in trouble and so on.

So in English, ‘sitting on the fence’ does not necessarily have such a negative connotation, as you can tell by the examples I’ve used. It can, however. You could say “So and so is a fence-sitter” which means that person never takes sides – probably because they don’t want to disappoint anyone. So a fence-sitter is someone who doesn’t choose sides.

What are you on the fence about at the moment? Let me know in the comments, and talk to you next time!


Key terms

  • (sitting) on the fence
  • fence-sitter


(he has been) understanding = (ele tem sido) compreensivo

so and so = fulano de tal

  • Adrian says:

    I’m always sitting on the fence lately. Sometimes I want to “jogar tudo pro alto” (favor fazer um podcast sobre essa expressão hahahah) and pick up any option.

    Warm hugs to you there in your cold England <3

  • SINARA says:

    HI Ana!
    Ive make up my mind to write a book this morning.
    Im wasn’t exactly sited on the fence about that (in a positive way), but I was a fence sitter ( in a bad way) about my career.
    Actually Im not rave over of my actual gig, so I did a list of pros end cons.
    , Im torn about outstanding financial conditions I have at my full time work ( for my way of living -I don’t need so much) and the worth of doing what I really love.
    However, I can’t postpone it anymore.
    So I ended up deciding to do on the side my actual gig, start writing something for children ( because I have 12 nephews) – they can be a great audience when my book were out. As well as I can enjoy our moments together , make real connections, and inspire them to pick good decisions in life.
    Joying to this children gang( raw material rsrsr), of course, will teach me a lot. They are simple, not overly dramatic and they are not neutral or hesitant to be happy.

    I will enjoy this moment to congratulate you for your work. I have other plans too ( in spite Im already 41 years old)… I would like to live at EUA. This semester I wILL apply TOEFL TEST. Do you recommend some specific course to help me?
    Kind regards! Sinara

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Sinara,
      I wish you all the best with your job and future career as a children book author!!
      I think most people are fence-sitters in one way or another.
      Thanks for the comment ;-)
      To find a course I would simply recommend a Google search, focusing on what former students have to say about their school. All the best!

  • Jeff says:

    Hello Ana! Whenever I get into Inglês Online I learn something new! It’s been 6 long years and it’s quite the same, that’s why I love your page. :D btw I’m on the fence about watching Deadpool today! Thanks a bunch for everything!!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      HI Jeff,
      Thank you and glad to hear you’re happy with the site!
      I’ve heard Deadpool is quite violent so I’m not on the fence – I’ll pass!

  • Lucy says:

    I am on the fence about the situation political in Brazil..please help me writer better..bye

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