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Thread: Call back

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    #1

    Call back

    Hi All,

    In one of my classes recently a student wanted to know what was wrong with ' I will call back to you'? I know it sounds natural to say " I will call you back" but is there something wrong with the students construction? ( Especially when we do split Phrasal verbs like call up with a subject- I will call John up, I will call up John)

    Please clarify.

    Arun

  1. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Call back

    ***NOT A TEACHER***

    Quote Originally Posted by greystroke View Post
    In one of my classes recently a student wanted to know what was wrong with ' I will call back to you'? I know it sounds natural to say " I will call you back" but is there something wrong with the students construction? ( Especially when we do split Phrasal verbs like call up with a subject- I will call John up, I will call up John)
    Yes, "to" is redundant:

    I will call back to you.

    And the word order is wrong. It should be:

    I will call you back.

    The phrasal verb is "call (somebody) back". This explains why "you" should be placed after "call".

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    #3

    Re: Call back

    "I will call back to you" is not natural but it is grammatical. The phrasal verb "call back" can be used in different ways.

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    #4

    Re: Call back

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "I will call back to you" is not natural but it is grammatical.
    hmmm

    1. I looked the word up (in the dictionary)
    2. I looked up the word.

    3. I looked up the chimney.
    4. I looked the chimney up.


    5. I'll give you a book.
    6. I'll give a book to you.


    I think we can say that #4 is not grammatical. It's not that it is unnatural; it's not possible with the 'grammar' of the verb + preposition.
    Now, if we are talking about telephoning,

    7. I'll call you back.
    8. I'll call back to you.

    #8 is not unnatural, it's ungrammatical. But, if we have two people arranging to shout (call) a message to each other across the steet,

    9. I'll call you back.
    10. I'll call back to you.

    #10 is fine, but #9, I think, is not just unnatural, but ungrammatical.
    Last edited by 5jj; 22-Jul-2012 at 16:07. Reason: typo

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    #5

    Re: Call back

    Dear 5jj

    Your example of two people shouting across the street makes perfect sense.

    Thanks,
    Arun

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