You Take A Cue, You Form A Queue

Homophones. Words that sound alike, but have different spellings and different meanings. They're a rich source of fodder for Mind Your Language. Today's example: the incorrect but commonly-seen expression 'take a queue'. You simply don't do that; you take a cue.

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The relevant meaning of 'cue' in this sense is a "guiding suggestion". When you take a cue from somebody, you are following their lead, but you are not standing in line behind them. In no way are you forming a queue.

The only possible way in which you could 'take a queue' is if you led a group of waiting people somewhere else, and that clearly isn't what this recent BusinessDay post meant meant when it proclaimed: "We should take a queue from countries like the US." Wrong.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


Comments

    Interstingly the Americans would have dropped the first U, and then replaced the Q and E with a C, as they often do.

    misleading title. i thought this was going to be an article about mobile devices geared towards gay people

    There appears to be a typo in the first sentence: 'Words that sounds alike'. :)

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