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In Defense Of: Standing “On Line”

A photographic representation of standing on line at 1020.

Last night, it came to the attention of Senior Staff Writer Abby Rubel that some people refuse to stand “on line,” preferring instead to stand “in line.” After a heated exchange, she decided to defend her position below.

Saying that you’re “on line” is correct. The line of people is guided by an imaginary line on the floor, on which you are also presumably standing. Therefore, you are “on line.”

“In line,” the more common phrase indicating that you are queueing up, is also correct.

“Online” is not correct, because it means you are surfing the net in the middle of Butler 209 instead of doing the reading you promised yourself you’d do.

“Inline” is also not correct, because it is an adjective that does not indicate your location. If you are “inline,” you are probably a kind of roller skate. Or a computing term, which means you probably actually took a coding class. Good for you for stretching your comfort zone! (Unless you’re CS, in which case, good for you for fulfilling your graduation requirements.)

So let’s just chill out about this. It’s not like when people mix up “less” and “fewer.”

Standing in/on line at 1020 via Flickr

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