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To line (someone or something) up

Idiom: To line (someone or something) up


Context #1 – Students are trying to plan a surprise party for their teacher

Jeff:Next Friday is our teacher’s last day of class before she moves to China. I think we should line something up for her surprise farewell party. Something really big!!

 Mimi: Hmmmm…let me think about that. How many people are in the class?

Jeff: About 15 people and they are all adults.

 Mimi: Oh, I know! Let’s line up a magician for the party. I recently saw a magician named “Alvin the Great” who hypnotizes people and makes them do crazy things. When they wake up, they forget ever doing those things!

Jeff:Really? That sounds a little strange. What if they do something embarrassing?

Mimi: Well, he only hypnotized people who were willing and they didn’t do anything too crazy. Just funny things.

Jeff: OK. Do you think we have enough time to line “Alvin the Great” upfor the party?

Mimi: Let me call him now.

Context #2 – Students are rushing to see a magician’s show

Jack: OK, everyone. Line up over here by the stage if you want to get a closer look at “Alvin the Great.”

Terri: Oh, this is so exciting! I want to volunteer during the show.

Jack: Well, if you line up first, you will have a better chance.

Meaning: To schedule someone or something for something (figurative); to put people or things in a line (literal)

“In context 1, the figurative meaning is to arrange or schedule someone or something for an event. Jeff and Mimi are scheduling a magician to come and perform during their teacher’s farewell party. In context 2, the literal meaning is to put people or things in a line. In this case, the students are lining up to see the magician and Terri wants to be the first in line so that she can volunteer during the show.

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