What's the idiomatic adjective for the noun "queue"?
I waited there in a very long queue.
I waited there in a very big queue.
Or maybe something else?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
As this NGram query shows, long is the right answer.
This doesn't tell you why or even how to remember it, but I agree with Andrew's answer that long tends to be used for one-dimensional objects and big and large for higher dimensions. An area can be long but not big; take the country Chile as an example. It's long, and big when compared to my backyard but rather small next to its neighbour Argentina.
Only "half-native" here but just today I used "big queue" and it certainly did not raise any eyebrows among the "full-natives" around me.
Additionally to the previous answers I'd say that "big" can be understood as a "category" containing "long" and other "shapes" of "big". Therefore you could always use the superordinate "big" to replace any of the "subordinate" and more specific forms of "big".
It depends on the context of the metric(s) being considered(mostly implicitly).
When we consider something in terms of only its length and not width, we use
Nile river is 6695 km
long. It is the longest river on the planet earth.
Mount Everest is 8848m
high or 8848m long.
When we consider something in terms of its width, we use words such as "big"
Nile river covers a big area of approx. 14000 sq km.
The biggest continent on earth is Asia.