gave John and Pete a call

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Senior Member
a. I gave a call to John and Pete.
b. I gave John and Pete a call.

Did I make one phone call or two (one per person)?


c. I gave two calls to John and Pete.
d. I gave John and Pete two calls.

Did I make two phone calls or four (two per person)?

The sentences are mine.

I think they are all ambiguous.

Many thanks.

  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Strictly speaking they're ambiguous, but I suspect most people would interpret (a) and (b) to mean one call each (unless they shared the same phone) and (c) and (d) to mean you called them both twice. :)


    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Yes (for a and b) the speaker is speaking to someone who knows John and Pete thus knows if they live together (one call) or don’t (two calls). Otherwise the first response to resolve the ambiguity has got to be, “Who are John and Pete?”
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