View Full Version : The Greatest of Debates - "On line" v. "In line"
06-06-2000, 03:29 PM
I've lived in NYC for several years now, and I would believe that New Yorker's are generally bright people, except that they obstinately insist that, for ex., when you wait to get tickets, you wait "on line". Any fool can see there isn't a line on the ground "on" which you are standing, but instead that you are "in" a line of people.
Teeming Millions, help me bring the light of truth and grammer to the benighted residents of my adopted home.
06-06-2000, 03:32 PM
I'll bet you were online when you wrote that. You'll probably be online when you read this. What is this line that you are on?
I say "in line" too. Then again, it's just an expression.
Duck Duck Goose
06-06-2000, 03:44 PM
I have heard this, too, and my impression is that it is an Anglicism. Teemsters across the Pond care to comment?
06-06-2000, 04:25 PM
Obviously, they are standing on principle that it is more polite to queue up than to mob around. They hold the line at this last bit of courtesy and that is the line/principle on which they stand.
(If you spend much time worrying about regionalisms, you will probably bunk into a lot of things in life to worry about.)
06-06-2000, 04:30 PM
Although I don't know whether they say "in" or "on", they don't use the word "line." Its a "queue" to our friends across the Atlantic.
06-06-2000, 04:51 PM
IMHO, this thread may belong in IMHO.
06-06-2000, 05:05 PM
You may be right, Tracer, and I did present the question facetiously. But I'm actually serious: for god knows what reason, "on line" really annoys me. My question is, which version is "proper" English?
06-06-2000, 06:07 PM
Personal experience: in the UK, you wait in line or you stand in line. The only use of "on line" I can think of offhand is in, well, "online".
06-06-2000, 06:30 PM
[Moderator Hat ON]
Off to IMHO it goes. Catch, slythe!
[Moderator Hat OFF]
06-06-2000, 09:41 PM
I'm from the UK and we definitely say "in line" or "in the queue"; I certainly only consider myself "online"... when I'm "online", like now!
I have to say, it would really annoy me too, as I'm totally anal about incorrect grammar/spelling etc. but never having had the pleasure of visiting NYC so far, in the same situation I would probably have put it down to some Yank idiosyncracy and let them get on with it, whilst quietly seething in a corner somewhere!! ;)
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