I'm sure many of you have been in this situation—I'll be on hold for a bit and some automated voice will say
Your call will be answered in the order it was received.
I understand what they're saying, but I believe it's phrased wrong. They're saying that my call has a place in a sequence of calls, and they'll all be answered in the same order in which they were received.
There must be, as far as I know, multiple (or, a list of) things in the subject of a sentence in order for the action on the subject to be done in an order.
I generally steer away from customer service phone calls, but in the few that I've done, I've heard this phrasing more than the alternatives, which can be something like:
Calls are answered in the order in which they were received.
To me, this latter usage seems more reasonable, and "correct" (because I've always seen the "in which" construction as grammatical—though it seems awkward to many).
- (based on a comment) Is it acceptable to refer to the position an of an item in a list as its "order"?
- Is the former quoted phrase more common and accepted? If not, is its implication well understood, or does it warrant rephrasing?
(edit based on my meta question/answer regarding this )