Sunday, March 1, 2015

online/on line/in line: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Sunday, March 1, 2015

online/on line/in line 
The common adjective used to label Internet activities is usually written as one word: “online”: “The online site selling banana cream pies was a failure.” But it makes more sense when using it as an adverbial phrase to write two separate words: “When the teacher took her class to the library, most of them used it to go on line.” The hyphenated form “on-line” is not widely used, but would be proper only for the adjectival function. However, you are unlikely to get into trouble for using “online” for all computer-related purposes.

As for real physical lines, New Yorkers and Bostonians wait “on line” (in queues), but most Americans wait “in line.”


This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.

Enjoy the calendar? Buy the book!

No comments:

Post a Comment