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  1. learning54's Avatar
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    #1

    Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Hi Teachers,
    Are the following sentences correct according to what's in parentheses?
    a) Most of the workers are standing in a queue. (British English)
    b) Most of the workers are standing in a line. (American English)

    Thanks in advance

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Both are fine in BrE, as is 'standing in line'. Only (a) clearly means that they are waiting their turn for something.
    Last edited by 5jj; 21-Jan-2012 at 19:59. Reason: typo

  3. learning54's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Both are fine in BrE, as is 'standing in line'. Only (a) clearly mains that they are waiting their turn for something.
    Hi 5jj,
    Thank you for your reply.
    (a) Yes. In fact they are waiting for their lunch.
    So, standing 'in line' and standing 'in a line' mean the same. I didn't know that.
    But we should say, standing in a queue'. That's the only possibility. Right?

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    But we should say, standing in a queue'. That's the only possibility. Right?
    It is to me. (We also say both 'queue' and 'line' in AusE).
    We do say "standing in line", but we tend not to say "standing in queue" - though I notice that there are some legitimate looking examples on the web, many from India. And I couldn't swear that no one in Australia says it.
    We also say, "queueing", "queueing up", "lining up", but not "lining".

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    If they are waiting for lunch, then 'standing in a queue' is more likely in BrE - or simply 'queuing.' You are right in saying that 'queue' needs an article'.

  6. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by learning54 View Post
    Hi 5jj,
    Thank you for your reply.
    (a) Yes. In fact they are waiting for their lunch.
    So, standing 'in line' and standing 'in a line' mean the same. I didn't know that.
    But we should say, standing in a queue'. That's the only possibility. Right?
    Hi, learning54!

    Let me give you the AmE version! Common usage in the US is 'standing in line'. 'Standing in a line' essentially means the same thing.

    Examples:
    * Bob and Jane were standing in line for 3 hours before the gates to the stadium were opened.
    * Bob and Jane were standing in a line that was a mile long!

    The BrE word 'queue' is also finding its way into American vocabulary. In fact, I frequently use the word when I am talking about a large gathering of people who are waiting for something to happen.

  7. learning54's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    Hi, learning54!

    Let me give you the AmE version! Common usage in the US is 'standing in line'. 'Standing in a line' essentially means the same thing.

    Examples:
    * Bob and Jane were standing in line for 3 hours before the gates to the stadium were opened.
    * Bob and Jane were standing in a line that was a mile long!

    The BrE word 'queue' is also finding its way into American vocabulary. In fact, I frequently use the word when I am talking about a large gathering of people who are waiting for something to happen.
    Hi amigos4,
    Thank you for your reply.

    Best.
    L54

  8. Amigos4's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Both are fine in BrE, as is 'standing in line'. Only (a) clearly mains that they are waiting their turn for something.
    Hi, 5jj!

    If 'only (a) clearly mains (means) that they are waiting their turn for something', then what does (b) indicate?
    (b) Most of the workers are standing in a line. (American English)

    Don't both examples imply that people are waiting their turn for something?

    Cheers,
    A4

  9. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    (b) Most of the workers are standing in a line. (American English)

    Don't both examples imply that people are waiting their turn for something?
    Not necessarily, though I accept that this may often be so. They could be waiting in (a) line (rather than in a bunch) in order to leave space for something to pass. When the time comes, they will stop standing in a line, possibly all at the same time.

  10. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Question about 'in a queue' and 'in a line'

    "Standing in a line" simply means that that is the shape they are making. It could be a police line-up, maybe they're standing aside against a wall so that a large vehicle can squeeze past, perhaps they are part of a living sculpture.

    "Standing in line" (AmE) = "queuing" (BrE) = "waiting for their turn"

    Standing in a line (AmE) = Standing in a line (BrE)

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