Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever heard somebody say “that’s your call” and wondered what exactly that meant?

Isn’t a call something you do on the phone?

Understanding how to use this phrase can really be helpful.
Making a call isn’t just on the phone.

There are actually multiple uses for the word “call” and you need to see how they work.

Once you understand that there are different ways to use it then it makes much more sense.

Today we’ll help you understand different ways to use “call.”

Let’s take a look at a letter we received on this very topic.

Hi, Lindsay and Michelle,

How is it going? First of all, thanks for answering my questions in previous episodes. That was awesome! Well, this time I’d like to suggest a topic…it’s related to the word “call” (not a phone call, of course). In TV series, for example, when an important decision has to be made, and one of the characters think it’s not their responsibility, they might say “That’s not my call” (could be the opposite too, like “That’s my call, not yours”).

 I might be wrong, but I didn’t see you girls covering that yet, and it could be interesting (I hope you find that too ). Is it something used outside TV, I mean, in real life?
Please keep doing this inspiring job! Have a good one,

Eduardo, from Brazil


This is a very common question and concern.

The truth is that it’s a very natural expression, and it’s used all the time.

The word “call” has so many uses–there are TONS of  idioms with the word call.

Right now we are focusing on the word call in terms of making decisions., because that is a common theme with this word.


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How to use “call” in a conversation:

  • My call/not my call: This is much more about decisions than responsibility. In this situation you would say  “that’s not my call”- which really means that’s not my decision to make.
    • Some additional uses would include  (it’s) your call, (it’s) not your call,  and it really means it’s up to you in the end.
  • Good call: You made a good decision in that situation.
    • I saw the weather outside and decided to pack my snow boots. That was a good call!
  • Call the shots: You are the ultimate and total decision maker. This is the person who gets to make all the big decisions, usually at the top.
    • Oh that’s the big boss that everyone reports to–he calls all the shots around here!
  • Tough call: That was a really difficult decision to make. Nobody really wants to make this type of decision but sometimes you have to.
    • We had to let a couple of people go from the project. It was a really tough call!
  • Make the call: This is usually the traditional way that you would use the word “call” in context. It can be about making a phone call or even a decision actually. It may be formal or it may be informal so it has multiple uses.
    • Do you think that we’ll have to cancel the outdoor activities? I don’t know, we’ll watch the weather and then make the call then.

As you can see, there are multiple ways to use the word call in various situations.

Practice with it and use this as a guide to help you.


As you probably know by now,  words can have many different meanings in English.

It can be helpful to get examples from TV and just from observing and listening to everyday conversations.

Call has many uses, and you may wish to try it out for yourself.

Do you have any questions on this?

If so leave your questions in the comments and we’ll get to them right away!

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