Do 'Kelly called up Patrick' and 'She gave him a call' mean the call got through?

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HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
[1] Kelly called Patrick. ... But he didn't answer.

A lot of people take the first sentence to mean Patrick answered her call, particularly if the speaker clearly ends the sentence with a descending intonation. So the second sentence may sound strange. (It is not true if he/she reads the second immediately after the first, ending it without a descending intonation)

How about the next sentences? Does the first of each set sound like the call got through, if it is ended with a descending intonation?

[2] Kelly called up Patrick. ... But he didn't answer.
[3] Kelly gave Patrick a call. ... But he didn't answer.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Well, they all have the same implicatures; that is, 'up' doesn't make it any more complete (as you might expect it did). But I'm not 100% sure how I feel about them anyway.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Without the second part of the sentence, I'd assume that the call got through and Patrick answered it. But adding the second part makes it clear to me that it didn't, no matter how you rephrase the first part, and I'm not entirely sure what other interpretation you can put on it. :confused:
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    And, then, it would make them clearer if you altered them by adding 'tried to,' would it not?

    Kelly tried to call Patrick, but he didn't answer.
    Kelly tried to call Patrick up, but he didn't answer.
    Kelly tried to give Patrick a call, but he didn't answer.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Or Kelly called Patrick's number. In practice we have common ways of indicating a failed attempt, so it's uncommon to have to think about whether 'Kelly called Patrick' could mean that in some context. Here is a context I offer up, delaying the outcome by a long run of words:

    Kelly called Patrick, letting the phone ring at the other end, wondering whether he was in or whether he might be in the shower, and trying to decide how to break the news.

    Now, I think here we can allow Kelly to hang up without being answered, but in practice we wouldn't say that.
     
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