Dear experts,

Both expressions below deal with money matters:

put it on the line
put money on the line

You fellows always PUT IT ON THE LINE for me every pay day.

The California government is PUTTING MONEY ON THE LINE to get a fleet of steam cars on the road.

Could you comment on the difference in their respective meaning.

Thank you,

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Original Post
"Put it on the line" may or may not refer to money matters. It refers to someone's being steadfast in taking a position and to be willing to risk all. It may involve giving an ultimatum.

A Google search reveals several sites that publish the lyrics of what appears to be a rap song:

"...I am goin to hold, hold on to my pride
I'm gonna stick, I'm gonna stick to my guns
I'm gonna put my finger on the trigger
I'm gonna pull it and we gon see what the deal
I'm for real, I just wanna put it, put it on the line
I've gotta put it on the line
And we havent got much time
I've gotta put it on the line..."'Angelo/

(sentiments of these lyrics are not subscribed to by the Grammar Exchange)

Another site showed this sentence in a comment about a strong position that the Bush administration took:

"I have no doubt the Bush administration is willing to put it on the line like this."

The Collins COBUILD* online concordancer has these two sentences from which one can infer meaning:

...Iliescu has now put it on the line. He'd use troops to crush revolt,...

... have to be willing to put it on the line. Never accept loss. Accept being...

Your sentence, "You fellows always PUT IT ON THE LINE for me every pay day" suggests that the speaker feels put down, that the employer shows him every pay day that he is really not worth very much as evidenced by the low rate of pay. "Put it on the line" is what the payee feels that the payer is doing to him, or that the payer is saying in another way: "My way or the highway," or "Take it or leave it."

On the other hand, "put money on the line" is clearly about money, just as your sentence about the California government shows. It means that someone (or an organization) invests or gambles money for a purpose he (or it) strongly supports, and is willing to take risks for.


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