Line or row?

EdwinT

Senior Member
Chinese
When you are standing in a classroom in front of a class. There are lines of students sitting one behind another running from the front of the classroom to the back. What do you habitually call each of those lines of students, do you call it a LINE or a ROW? What about the students that form a line from left to right, do you call that a LINE or a ROW (or another term, perhaps)?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In your context, a line runs from front to back; a row runs from side to side.

    A military line runs from side to side; If there is one line of soldiers behind another line of soldiers, then these lines are called ranks; a military line running from front to back is a column (especially when marching.)
     

    FromPA

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It was a long time ago, but I think that when I was in a regimented-type classroom, we referred to rows going across and aisles going from front to back. If I was in the first row, I was next to the teacher. If I was in the first aisle, I was next to the door. "Aisle" seems to be a bit of a misnomer here since the aisle is actually the space between desks, but since you could only exit your desk on one side, all of the students in a file of desks were associated with a particular aisle.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If you draw lines on a paper in order to make the students write in straight lines, it is idiomatic to refer to the line from side to side and top to the bottom as line? or just row?

    “Using paper with lines can make your writing straight instead of up or down.”

    Does this only mean the lines from side to side or it can refer to the lined from top to bottom?
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    A line. A paragraph contains lines, not rows. The reason for drawing lines on a blank page is to help keep each line of writing straight.
    How about the vertical line to keep the writing straight from top to bottom?
     
    Last edited:

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In a class of students (and many similar 2-dimensional arrays):

    A column is a line of student sitting behind each other.

    A row is a line of students sitting to each other's left and right.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In a class of students (and many similar 2-dimensional arrays):

    A column is a line of student sitting behind each other.

    A row is a line of students sitting to each other's left and right.
    Got it. I used to call the column "line" in a class. I might be wrong. So if I want to say the students in the fifth line from the top and second line from the left side, I'd better say the students in column 2, row 5, rather than line 2, row 5?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, I think that is clearer. To me "line" could be either row or column.

    Then again, if you use it in an actual classroom, point to the correct person (or column, or row) the first couple times you say it and everyone will adjust to whatever terminology you use.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes, I think that is clearer. To me "line" could be either row or column.

    Then again, if you use it in an actual classroom, point to the correct person (or column, or row) the first couple times you say it and everyone will adjust to whatever terminology you use.
    Got it. Thank you very much.
     

    FromPA

    Senior Member
    USA English
    How about the vertical line to keep the writing straight from top to bottom?
    We don't write vertically, so we don't have vertically-lined paper, so there's no standard way to say it. I think I would still use "lines", unless there were both vertical and horizontal lines, in which case I would specify "vertical lines" or "horizontal lines."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    We don't write vertically, so we don't have vertically-lined paper
    Well, we like to start lines of a paragraph using a neat vertical alignment.
    Many (not all) designs of lined writing paper do also have a printed vertical margin-line for this purpose. See "lined paper" in google images.
     

    Sweetboat

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Is it common to refer to a vertical line in a classroom as 'column'?
    Or should I call it 'line' to make it sound more natural?
     

    pops91710

    Senior Member
    English, AE
    a military line running from front to back is a column
    Also called a FILE— A single column of men/women or vehicles, one behind the other. But only when in single file.
    COLUMN— A formation in which the elements are placed one behind the other; a section or platoon is in column when its squads are in column and abreast.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Is it common to refer to a vertical line in a classroom as 'column'? Or should I call it 'line' to make it sound more natural?
    A "line" won't be understood. As I say in post #12, a line can be either a row or a column.

    In any audience situation (a theater, a classroom) "row" is clear. It is people who are adjacent left to right. The "first row" is the row closest to the front. The "last row" is the farthest one.

    "Column" is not standard, and "line" definitely is not. If you are a teacher you can define them by explaining to your class "When I say this, I mean this."
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't think Sweetboat can be referring to a line of pupils if the line is vertical. Hence my question. Lines of people on the floor of a classroom are distributed horizontally, not vertically, unless the lesson is so boring that it's driving people up the wall.
     

    Sweetboat

    Senior Member
    Korean
    By a vertical line I mean, one person behind another, and so on. (not left to right.)

    Student 1
    Student 2
    Student 3
    Student 4

    The same word as column. But dojibear says it's not standard. I'm looking for a common word for that meaning.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    By a vertical line I mean, one person behind another, and so on.
    But that is not vertical -> vertical = going upward towards the sky and downward towards the earth; at 90 degrees to the horizontal.

    You can see why "vertical line of students" would not work. ;)
     
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