How to ask “What are you lining up for” in Japanese?

Posted by on July 1, 2019 – Japanese Study, Life in Japan
In Japan, you can often see people lining up for something.
No matter whether you are at a train station or waiting in a public toilet, you always need to line up and wait.
Sometimes, it can be confusing when the line is too long or there are too many lines around you.
In this article, you will learn the ways to ask what people are lining up for in Japanese.

Asking what the line is for

When you want to know what the line is for, one way you can ask is
すみません、 これは何(なん)の列(れつ)ですか
Sumimasen, korewa nanno retsudesuka
Excuse me, what is the line for?
 
Let’s practice this expression with some examples
you are lining up at a crowded train station and you are looking for the line you want to join.
You:
“すみません、これは何(なん)の列(れつ)ですか。”
Sumimasen, korewa nanno retsudesuka
Excuse me, what is the line for?
 
Passenger:
“山手線の列です。”
Yamanotesenno retsudesu
(It is) for Yamanote line.
 

Asking what are people lining up for

Alternatively, you can also say:
 
すみません、何(なに)に並(なら)んでるんですか。
Sumimasen, nanini naranderundesuka
Excuse me, what are you lining up for?
 
Again, let’s have an example of how this expression can be used:
you see a long line of people in front to an Apple Store and you are curious what they are lining up for. 
 
You:
“すみません、何(なに)に並(なら)んでるんですか。”
Sumimasen, nanini naranderundesuka
Excuse me, what are you lining up for?
 
The person:
“iPhoneの最新(さいしん)のモデルを買(か)うために並(なら)んでます。”
iPhoneno saishinno moderuo kautameni narandemasu
I am lining up to buy iPhone’s newest model
 

How to say whether you are in the right line for something

 
When you want to confirm with someone whether you are lining up for the correct line , you can ask,
すみません、~はこの列(れつ)で合ってますか?
Sumimasen, ~wa konoretsude attemasuka
Excuse me, is this the correct line for ~?
 
An example of when to use this expression: 
you want to buy a fukubukuro at a clothing store. The line there is long like a snake you may want to make sure that you are in the right line for it.
 
You:
“すみません、福袋(ふくぶくろ)はこの列(れつ)で合(あ)ってますか。”
Sumimasen, fukubukurowa konoretsude attemasuka.
Excuse me, is this the right line for fukubukuro?
 
Someone in the line:
“はい、合(あ)ってます。”
Hai, attemasu
Yes, it is the right line.

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