Queue of people outside a store
Queue of people outside a store

Difference between Queue and Row

The English Language nouns Queue and Row have related meanings, but they are different, as I shall explain, using British English examples.

Queue (noun) means a line of people waiting for something, where the person at the head of the queue will be served next. In US English this is called a "line". The head of the queue can also be called the front of the queue. At the opposite end of the queue is the back of the queue, almost never called the tail of the queue.

Usage examples:

"I joined the queue at the Post Office 15 minutes ago and I still haven't been served."

"Do you want to join the queue for this ride, or come back later?"

"The queue at the tower was 45 minutes long, but the view from the top was amazing."

"Excuse me, there is a queue; don't push in, please join at the back."

A queue of shoppers in a grocery store
A queue of shoppers in a grocery store @john_cameron

Row (noun) is a line of objects or people next to each other. While a queue implies people waiting for their turn, a row is normally a static line of people, or objects. Objects in a row might be placed in an order, for example from the smallest to the largest object, but this is not necessary a row. A row is normally thought of as being objects next to each other, that is side-by-side, not lined up one in front of another. For objects in a line front-to-back, it is normally called a line. A row does not have an implicit direction, so it has two ends, not a head and a back. If objects are placed in a circle so there are no ends, then it is not called a row, it is called a circle, for example "a circle of stones". A row must have a minimum of two objects, but in almost all cases it will have at least three, as two objects next to each other would be called a pair or a couple, for example "a couple of chairs".

Usage examples:

"Please arrange the chairs in a row along the back wall."

"Hi everyone, please form a row over here and Megan and I will choose the teams."

"This row of houses dates from the 18th Century."

"He carefully planted the seeds in a row in the ground."

A row of houses
A row of houses
A line of helicopters on a runway
A line of helicopters @jannerboy62


Please email me with any questions martha@ukentry.com