Call Up or Call On?

In yesterday’s post, I suggested the following alternative for a sentence I worked with:

The House Judiciary Committee wants to be able to call on presidential aides to testify at the Committee’s whim.

This morning I noticed that I had automatically changed call up to call on. To find out why, I turned to the Online Dictionary to clarify the differences between the two phrases:

Call on: To order or request to undertake a particular activity.

Call up: To summon to active military service.

As I see it, the House Judiciary Committee simply wants Karl Rove to testify. That’s why call on appeals to me. In contrast, Rove’s use of the phrase call up suggests that from his perspective, the Committee wants to engage him in battle.

Well, heck; it’s his sentence, not mine. He has every right to say what he means. So call up it is.

Questions? Comments?

Cheers,

Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
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