Professional Style

Cue vs. Queue

March 2017
Spot the Error

During a particularly busy lunch hour at the diner, Dianna confirmed to the customer that, although his order was delayed, it was definitely in the cue.

Here we have another very common case of confused homophones. Cue is a signal that prompts an action, especially during a performance. Example:

The crash of the cymbal is your cue to deliver the line.

Cue also refers to the long stick used to strike the cue ball in billiards.

Queue, on the other hand, refers to a line of people or things. Example:

There is always a queue at the department of motor vehicles.

In the “diner” sentence above, the hungry customer’s order is in the queue, not cue.

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