I call to/call him


Senior Member
ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
"I call to/call him "

Which is the correct .

I always use just "call" but I have just noticed ( by making a mistake) that " call to" is also possible .
So which one is OK??

  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    When you are speaking about making a telephone call, you use "call."

    I need to call my mother (on the phone).
    I called my sister last Friday, and she still hasn't called me back yet.
    What time should I call you?

    We don't really say "call to." We can say "call out to" but only in very specific context, where you are "calling someone's name" aloud in the hope that they will hear you.

    The little boy, who had been lost for three days in the woods, called out to his mother the moment he saw her.

    Rescuers found him by calling out to him using his nickname. When he heard their calls, he crawled out from the place where he had been hiding.

    When my cat went missing, I walked all around the neighborhood calling out to him. Of course, when I got home, he was sitting on the front porch with a smug look on his face.


    Senior Member
    English, United States
    I would only use call to to mean that I said something loudly to get the attention of someone who was at a short distance from me (within sight, but too far to hear me without raising my voice) or to summon that person to come near.

    Some examples:
    [at a party] I called to John across the room and asked him to join the conversation.
    I called to Mike across the baseball diamond and asked him to throw the ball back to me.
    I called to my children, who had wandered too far from me at the park.


    Senior Member
    Peruvian Spanish
    Over two years later ...

    Thank you. This means you can say:
    I called to the nurse for help.

    There is always something new to learn!


    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    One and a half years have passed ....

    I was watching Sesame Street with my daughter when Elmo shouted 'Gordon, Gordon' to catch his attention. Here Big Bird says 'Why are you calling Gordon.' Why isn't he saying 'calling out to Gordon'? Is it because he is just saying 'Why are you calling out the name of Gordon,' not necessarily to get his attention?

    Big Bird: Thanks for sharing your nice song with us, Elmo.
    Elmo: That's okay, Big Bird and Snappy. ... Gordon! Gordon!
    Big Bird: Why are you calling Gordon?
    Elmo: To sing a La, la, la Gordon song.
    (Sesame Street)


    Senior Member
    Why isn't he saying 'calling out to Gordon'? Is it because he is just saying 'Why are you calling out the name of Gordon,' not necessarily to get his attention?
    I understand Elmo is calling Gordon's name to get his attention. Or more specifically, for Gordon to come over to where Elmo, Big Bird and Snuffy are, all of whom have already sung their own songs: Elmo's Song, Big Bird's Song, Snuffy's Song. (I found a video clip of the scene.)

    Although the requisites mentioned in post #2 (for when 'call out to' may be used) are met, it seems they aren't inclusive. Looking at the examples provided in that post, one notices a theme: somebody is in need of or wants to offer help. In other words, I think a sense of distress has to be present. If Elmo had been in some kind of trouble, then 'call out to' might have worked. But in this case Elmo, by calling Gordon, is just acting out an idea in order to keep the fun going.


    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hi, EStjarn.

    Thanks for your observation. It is really helpful. It may be that either could be used when someone is calling for someone else's attention. I think the presence of 'out,' however, makes the listeners imagine he/she shouted, whether it be loud or faint, to that someone else for help or the like.

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