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Queues and lines. Are we in them or on them?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by foxfirebrand, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    To me <...> one of those quintessentially BE differences, like <...> "on queue"-- that last one sounds to an American like good stagecraft.

    <...>

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  2. moirag Senior Member

    Spain
    English, England
    I've never heard of "on queue" - it's "in a queue" . Are you maybe confusing it with "on cue", which is correct? And if you're not in hospital, where on earth are you??
    <...>
     
  3. A90Six Senior Member

    London
    England - English.
    As I see it (BE London):

    <...>

    The only form of on queue I would understand is on cue, meaning (from the acting profession) to do or say something at the right time.
     
  4. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I guess I'm hallucinating or something-- you guys do say on line instead of in line, don't you? I could swear I've heard "standing on queue" before-- I don't remember everything I've ever heard, but I find it hard to "unremember" anything that strikes my ear as weird-- and then turns out to be correct, such as "on line" <...>

    If nobody comes along to validate the use of "on queue," I'll have to try and expunge the awful "memory" of the silly damn expression.

    In the meantime I'm wrong, and I kinda hope it stays that way. <...>
    .
     
  5. Victoria32

    Victoria32 Senior Member

    New Zealand
    English (UK) New Zealand
    <...>
    Here in NZ we say 'in line' and think of 'on line' as an Americanism, (though playing on the Interweb is another thing of course.)

    That being said, NZ English is becoming American English...
     
  6. A90Six Senior Member

    London
    England - English.
    In BE the only lines we have are those printed on lined paper, those drawn, those on which trains run, those that always come down in bad weather and make our telephones useless, and those we hang the washing on.:D

    What you call a line in AE is a queue in BE. We are always in a queue (or so it would seem at times) and never on a queue.

    In BE to be in line is to be in agreement with some decision or way of thinking (or at least , to show that you are). To be on line is to have a connection to the internet.:)

    <...>
     
  7. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    I grew up (and in many parts of the country) saying "in line," and never heard "on line" until I had some contact with people from the urban Northeast. I thought of "on line" as a NYC thing before I even knew it was also BE.

    In faraway places, any impression of AE is likely to be skewed by the preeminence of NYC in the fields of entertainment and communication. People in Seinfeld, to cite just one example, stood "on line" a lot.
    .
     
  8. moirag Senior Member

    Spain
    English, England
    I agree with A90six on all counts. <...>"Online" is internet only (interweb in NZ? - new to me, too!). Sounds like you are confusing NYC with Britain.......they are quite different, and quite far apart, I assure you.
     
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I can verify that, in Los Angeles, the common way of referring to it is shifting to "standing (or waiting) on line", not "in line." More and more, I hear "on line" at the movie theater, in the mall, etc.

    I've commented on this to several of my friends and they act like I'm strange for thinking it was ever anything else, but I distinctly remember that people used to say, "Standing in line" not "on line." I can't believe I'm the only one who noticed this. I wonder if anyone's ever written an article about this.
     
  10. river Senior Member

    U.S. English

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