Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Sep 2 14:36:14 UTC 1999

At 1:57 AM -0400 9/2/99, James E. Clapp wrote:
>The New Yawk City use of "on line" for "in line" popped up in an amusing
>context (well, the sentence was amusing; the broader context was not) in
>a local television news report I heard yesterday--an account of the
>troubled background of the most recent mentally disturbed person to be
>mowed down by New York City police:
>"He took a number of computer courses to try to get his life back on
>Which gives an occasion to ask whether it is just New York sportscasters
>or is it a nationwide fad to substitute "on" for "for" in all sentences
>of the type: "He's had three hits on the day."
First, I think we need to be consistent here:  It's either "New York"  or
"Noo Yawk"; "New Yawk" is a register conflict.

Second, at least for me, there's a difference between literal "on line"
(for the queuing up sense, as in 'to stand on line') and the extended use,
which for me would have to be 'getting one's life back in line', as in
'...in order'.  I could never use "on line" in the latter case, and so the
inadvertent pun in the passage you cite would have been unavailable to me.
As for the "three hits on the day", I'm pretty sure that's not
NYC-specific; more likely related to "on Saturday", "on the 18th".


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