cue-the-music

Which is the correct one between ‘Cue the Music’ and ‘Queue the Music’? 

Feeling confused? We got you covered. For better understanding first, we will see the differences between ‘cue’ and ‘queue’, then we will dive into the difference between ‘Cue the Music’ & ‘Queue the Music’ and find the correct one. If you are in a hurry then you can simply scroll down and read the conclusion.

As the words ‘Cue’ and ‘Queue’ draws the difference between the two phrases, it is important to understand their meaning first.

Defining “Cue” & “Queue

We often get confused between these two words as they are pronounced in almost the same way, but mean different things.

Cue: To put it simply, a cue is a signal or stimulus that results in an action. It may also refer to a hint, a suggestion, or an encouragement. You may have heard about “cue cards”- the text written cards actors or hosts use to remember their lines. Take this sentence as an example – “I think that’s my cue to start working on my diet.”

Queue: The word “queue” on the other hand refers to “line up”. It is a French word and has a different meaning but let’s not go on that point. ‘Queue’ in British English refers to “forming a line”. You may have seen the use of this word in video streaming services, where users can add movies and TV shows to their online queues, which actually means the list of what they want to watch later. Take this sentence as an example – “He added another item to the growing queue.”

So, ‘cue’ and‘ queue’ is a homophone pair. This means both the words are pronounced similarly and have completely different meanings. Both are pronounced like the English letter  “Q”.

Now that you have understood the difference between ‘cue’ and ‘queue’, let’s get into the main topic.

‘Cue the music’ vs ‘Queue the music’

Both Cue the music and Queue the music is correct depending on which context you are using it. Let’s see how.

Cue the music

It is a very common phrase. It is generally used when getting music ready to play, or when directing somebody to start playing the music. When someone says, ‘cue the music’, it will mean he/she is asking someone to play the music

Meaning: to ask someone to start playing the music.

Queue the music

Queue the music on the other hand is not a very common phrase to use. However, it is also technically correct. The word ‘queue’ is more common in the UK than in the US. As we know that ‘queue’ means ‘line up’ so, ‘Queue the music’ will technically mean – “to line up the music”. When someone says, ‘queue the music’, it will mean, “he/she is asking someone to line up the music playlist”.

Meaning: to ask someone to line up the music playlist.

Fun part: The fun part about these phrases is, no matter which one you say, the listener will hear the same thing as both the phrases are pronounced in the same way. So, if the listener knows the meaning of ‘queue’ and ‘cue’ he will act according to the context.

But if you are using these phrases when writing, you must be extra cautious about the spelling. Because though the pronunciation is the same, the spelling is different. If you write ‘cue’ at the place ‘queue’ (or the opposite of it) it will change the meaning of the phrase.

Conclusion

To put it short and easy to remember, see the table below.

PhraseCorrectnessMeaningPronunciation
Queue the MusicCorrect (not commonly used)to ask someone to line up the music playlistq the music
Cue the MusicCorrect to ask someone to start playing the musicq the music

We hope that your confusion about the phrases has been cleared after reading this tutorial. Thank you for reading this far. If you have got to know something new or this article has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Arifur Rahman
Hello, my name is Arifur Rahman. I am a guitarist & music composer. I write about music & guitar at Calibbr.

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