Select “A” or “B” or “None Of The Above”

OK, this just occurred to me this morning as I was reading a review of a play.  The author of the review said that the director, “. . . toes the fine line. . . “.  My first thought was that he had used the wrong spelling of the word “toes”.  In my mind one “tows the line” as in the old canal boats towed by mules or men.


But on further consideration, using “toes” can also make sense!  In darts or target shooting, one’s toes are placed on the line that denotes the nearest approach to the target that is allowable, hence, “toe the line”.


I’m conflicted!  What do YOU think is the proper spelling for “To(w)(e) the line”, and why?



  1. It seems to me that both are correct and each with it’s own discrete meaning. One ‘toes the line’ when one is anxious to start a foot race, or one comes as close as possible to a line without crossing it. On the other hand, ‘tows the line’ implies that one pulls something along as a tow boat does, or one tows a barge, or a tow line. In the modern sense it is when one adheres to an accepted norm ie ‘tow the party line (Dems, Rep, or Communist) . Online dictionaries seem to muddle the distinction.

    1. With what you are saying in mind, the author did use the wrong to(w)(e). The sense of the usage implied that he followed common practice in his directing. Shudda bin “tow”!

      Thanks for commenting! Well done!


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