Toeing the line in 2011

Picture circa 1939, from the US Library of Congress

I’VE resolved not to make any resolutions this year. It’s not that I won’t try to improve – especially when it comes to the Word Nerds blog – it’s just that I’ll emphasise the “try” rather than the “will”.

Then, if I fall down, I won’t do what I usually do and give up completely – I’ll just get up and try again.

That’s the theory, anyway.

So while I won’t be toeing the conventional New Year’s resolution line, I’ll be doing the best I can.

And that (of course!) leads me to the first of my 2011 quick and easy grammar tips.

If you can’t remember whether it’s toeing the line or towing the line, just picture the line at the start of a race.

That’s where you put your toes.

It’s what the rules say you must do, isn’t it?

And that’s where the expression comes from.

So when you talk about obeying the rules, or doing what you’re supposed to do, you’re talking about toeing the line – not towing.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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This entry was posted by stevieg on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 am and is filed under Tips & Tutorials . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Amy says:

    Thank you for this Stevie G. I’m looking at my toes right now and hoping I can at least hold steady on the grammar train. Thank you for helping me differentiate the difference. :O)

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