Lauren Krueger & Matthew David Brozik

Calling in/out

In Definally on July 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

No one asks, “When you call work to report that you’ll be home for the day, are you calling in sick or calling out sick?”

Definally. is torn on this one. For a long time, Definally. was aware only of the notion of “calling in sick”… but then our eyes were opened to a whole second possibility.

There’s simple logic behind each: You call in to your place of employment… but you’re calling to say that you’ll be out. So the question really is what the preposition is doing. Is it indicating where you’re calling… or why.

Looking at it that way helps, in fact… because calling in is redundant. You can just call work (rather than call in to work). But if you say merely that you’re going to call in… you could be calling in for any reason. You might even call in to confirm that the office is open, or that you’re scheduled to work. Saying that you’re calling out tells the whole story, on the other hand. “I’m calling out today” does the trick. So call out it is.


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