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  1. #1
    thtm is offline Newbie
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    Default Difference between line, row, file and queue

    I've got a multiple choice question:
    We had to wait in a __________ in the post office for over ten minutes.
    A. line B. row C. file D. queue
    The key is D. queue but why isn't it 'line', 'row' or 'file'? Could you please help me differentiate between them?
    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Difference between line, row, file and queue

    We never say "wait in a file" or "wait in a row". If we are standing, one person behind another waiting for something (in this case, waiting to reach the counter at the Post Office"), then in BrE, we are waiting "in a queue" and in AmE, we are waiting "in line". Note that the AmE version does not use the indefinite article so could not be correct in your exercise. Of those choices, the only one which can go after "in a" is "queue".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Difference between line, row, file and queue

    Welcome to the forums.

    It's not a good question.

    In British English, a queue is what people are said to join when waiting their turn to be served.

    Most speakers of American English would say 'We had to wait in line in the post office', but might just accept 'We had to wait in a line...'

    'Row' and 'file' are not used in this context.

    Rover

    [EDIT: It must have taken me seven minutes to write that!]

  4. #4
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    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
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    Default Re: Difference between line, row, file and queue

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Welcome to the forums.

    It's not a good question.

    In British English, a queue is what people are said to join when waiting their turn to be served.

    Most speakers of American English would say 'We had to wait in line in the post office', but might just accept 'We had to wait in a line...'

    'Row' and 'file' are not used in this context.

    Rover

    [EDIT: It must have taken me seven minutes to write that!]
    I agree, Rover. In AmE, we use both "in line" and "in a line".

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