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I found the following sentence on Duolingo:

Фотография семьи будет висеть по центру.

But I don't understand why it uses по центру, not в центре. In other sentences, I see в центре used, for example.

Я живу в центре города.

What difference is there between по центру and в центре? Or is в центре grammatically not correct in the first place in this specific case?

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По центру has more narrow meaning.

В центре can be used always when something is in the middle or center: в центре города, в центре Земли, в центре комнаты, в центре треугольника.

По центру us used when you visually describe something appearing in the middle, and assess the perfectness of centering.

Example:

Картина висит в центре стены, но не совсем по центру.

The drawing is hanging at the middle of the wall, but not perfectly in the center.

It is somewhat shifted, maybe. Or tilted...

In other words, по центру means perfectly visually in the center.

If you say "я живу в центре города", this means "I live in the central part of the city". If you say "я живу по центру города", this means something like your apartment can be seen from all sides of the city, on some kind of crossing of view directions, at equal distance from the corners, or sorts. Like in "снайпер выбрал позицию по центру города".

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    As a native speaker, I would say that in this answer, everything about "в центре" is correct, but everything about "по центру" is totally incorrect
    – Dmitry
    Aug 20 at 8:04
  • "about "по центру" is totally incorrect " - of course not. This is commonly used, but it can also have the connotation "по центральной линии", f.e. - horizontally in the center between two objects, but not vertically ... or about some other line touching the center, as he said :> near center... Sep 20 at 16:51
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Both "Фотография семьи будет висеть по центру" and "Фотография семьи будет висеть в центре" are correct.

When I say "по центру" I mean that it's aligned to center. I can say "по центру внизу" meaning it's aligned to center horizontally but vertically it's at the bottom. "В центре" usually means that it's right in the center of something.

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