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Call me a cab! The word ‘call’ in English Posted by on Nov 30, 2019 in English Grammar, English Language, English Vocabulary

You might remember the scene: two man stand by the sidewalk, one of them asks the other: call me a cab! to which the other replies: you’re a cab! well, these two are none other than the great Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the unforgettable 1952 musical “Singing in the rain”. Besides the obvious comic effect of deliberately confusing the usage of the verb to call, this dialogue also goes to show the many possible meanings of the word. Which is why it is important to properly learn the distinctions between them. So next time your friend asks you to call him a cab, you’ll know what to do!

CALL AS A VERB: to call as to give a name do someone or something

  • Our family just adopted a dog from the shelter. We are going to call him Rex
  • -Nice to meet you, Mr. Richards – Please, you can call me Charles
  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt called their son Shiloh. I think it’s a lovely name
  • This cathedral is called St. Vito’s
  • Doctors use a device called scalpel to perform surgery

Woman on a phone call (Image by Анастасия Гепп from Pixabay)

to call as to use your phone to talk to someone

  • I think he’s hurt. We’d better call an ambulance 
  • I’ll let Miss Rowland know you called. Would you like to leave her a message? 
  • Call the police, someone broke into our house!
  • We will call you as soon as I have more information about your request 

to call as to have an opinion about something 

  • The press has called Daniel Day-Lewis one the best actors of his generation 
  • People call Pelé the king of soccer
  • Nowadays everybody can call themselves a “life coach” even if they have no qualification
  • You don’t need to call me stupid just because I got the answer wrong 

to call as to use your voice to get someone’s attention or ask them to come to you

  • I’ll be in the kitchen, call me if you need anything
  • In Brazil, we usually call people by their first name in any situation
  • My brothers and I would play in the yard until our mother called us inside for dinner


  • Long distance calls are always much more expensive
  • I have 5 missed calls from my mom! This cannot be good 

But this is just the beginning! Stay tuned because next time we’ll be exploring phrases and idioms with call! But for now, let’s call it a day. 

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