"in/on line"

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sun Nov 30 19:51:38 UTC 2008

On Nov 29, 2008, at 4:11 PM, Alison Murie wrote:

> Going back to the "in line/on line" discussion (I somehow managed to
> lose arnold's post):

old postings can be found in the archives on the ADS site.

> my experience is the same as arnold's
> correspondent: only became aware of "on line" in the wild in UK or in
> UK books, and later began to relate it to NYC speech.

we're now getting disparate reports about "stand/wait on line" in the
UK; note Chris Waigl's earlier posting.  (Lynne Murphy, are you
reading this?  Michael Quinion?)  it would be nice to see some actual
cites from UK books.

i did a Google Book Search on "stand on line" and didn't get any
relevant hits from UK books in the first hundred items.  but i did
find this report from an American character in fiction:

Jahnna N. Malcolm, The Write Stuff (juvenile fiction), p. 128:

   "And we stand in line, and you Brits stand on line." "We say to-mah-
toes," Dylan
began. "And we say to-may-toes," Hannah finished.

so there seem to be people who *believe* that this is a US/UK


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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