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

foxfirebrand

Senior Member
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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  • moirag

    Senior Member
    English, England
    foxfirebrand said:
    To me <...>one of those quintessentially BE differences, like <...>or "on queue"-- that last one sounds to an American like good stagecraft.

    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??
    <...>
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    foxfirebrand said:
    To me <...> one of those quintessentially BE differences, like <...> or "on queue"-- that last one sounds to an American like good stagecraft.
    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.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    A90Six said:
    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.
    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. <...>
    .
     

    Victoria32

    Senior Member
    English (UK) New Zealand
    foxfirebrand said:
    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.

    <...>
    .
    <...>
    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...
     

    A90Six

    Senior Member
    England - English.
    foxfirebrand said:
    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" <...>
    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.:)

    <...>
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Victoria32 said:
    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.)
    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.
    .
     

    moirag

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    moirag said:
    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.

    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.
     
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