Call past tense

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Meaning of call

to summon or invite someone to come, often by using the phone.


Word: call /kɔːl/
  • 1. She calls her mother every evening without fail.
  • 2. My job requires me to call customers and answer their queries.
  • 3. The teacher calls the roll at the beginning of each class to check attendance.

Past Simple

Word: called /kɔːld/
  • 1. He called me last night to check if I arrived safely.
  • 2. We called the restaurant to make a reservation for eight people.
  • 3. She called her friend to apologize for missing her birthday party.

Past Participle

Word: called /kɔːld/
  • 1. The meeting has been called off due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • 2. All the participants were called to the stage for the final announcement.
  • 3. The lost puppy was finally called back home by its worried owners.

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Bare infinitive

  1. Habitual actions or routines
    Example. I usually call my parents on the weekend.
  2. General truths or facts
    Example. He calls the technique ineffective.
  3. Scheduled events (in the near future, often found in timetables)
    Example. The meeting calls for a prompt start at 9 AM.

Past Simple

  1. Actions completed in the past at a specific time
    Example. I called you last night but you didn't answer.
  2. A series of completed actions in the past
    Example. He called the mechanic, dropped off his car, and took a bus home.
  3. Duration for something that happened in the past but is now finished
    Example. They called the seaside town their home for two years.
  4. Habits in the past
    Example. When we were young, we called each other almost every day.
  5. Past facts or generalizations which are no longer true
    Example. She called herself a musician before she became an architect.

Past Participle

  1. Forming the Present Perfect tense by combining with 'have/has' to express actions that happened at an unspecified time or actions that started in the past and continue until now
    Example. I have called you several times today.
  2. Forming the Past Perfect tense by combining with 'had' to show an action that was completed before another action in the past
    Example. They had already called the meeting to order by the time I arrived.
  3. Forming the Future Perfect tense by combining with 'will have' to indicate an action that will have been completed by a certain future point
    Example. By next week, she will have called all the potential sponsors.
  4. Passive voice construction to show that the subject is the receiver of the action
    Example. The new policy was called into effect last month.
  5. As an adjective to describe a condition resulting from an action
    Example. The called meeting was finally scheduled for Tuesday.

Common mistakes

— 01

Confusing Forms

One common mistake with the verb 'call' is confusing its simple past form with its past participle form. The simple past form is 'called,' and the past participle form is also 'called.' While both forms are the same for this verb, learners often mistakenly believe they should be different because many other English verbs have distinct simple past and past participle forms (e.g., 'write' becomes 'wrote' in the simple past and 'written' as the past participle). This can lead to incorrect application in sentences, especially when forming perfect tenses or the passive voice, where the past participle is needed.

— 02

Misuse of Past Tense

Another mistake is adding an extra 'ed' to the end of the simple past and past participle form of 'call,' due to misunderstanding the rule that typically, the simple past tense and past participle of regular verbs are formed by adding 'ed' to the base form. However, since 'call' already ends in 'l', it only requires adding 'ed' for both its simple past and past participle forms, not 'ed' twice.

— 03

Misuse in Compound Tenses

A frequent error involves incorrectly using 'call' in compound tenses, particularly in perfect tenses and passive voice constructions, which require the past participle form. Users might mistakenly use the base form or the simple past form instead of the correct past participle form in these constructions. Since 'called' serves as both the simple past and past participle form for 'call,' it's crucial to use it correctly in compound tenses.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the past simple form of 'call'?

The past simple form of 'call' is 'called.' This form is used to describe actions that happened at a specific time in the past. For example, 'Yesterday, I called my friend to catch up.'

What is the past participle form of 'call'?

The past participle form of 'call' is also 'called.' This form is used in perfect tenses to describe actions that have been completed at the time of speaking or by a specific point in the past. For instance, 'I have called my parents every weekend since moving out.'

How do I use 'called' in the past perfect tense?

To use 'called' in the past perfect tense, you combine it with 'had' to indicate that an action was completed before another action in the past. For example, 'By the time she arrived, I had already called everyone to announce the news.'

Can you give an example of 'called' in a sentence using the past continuous tense?

While 'called' itself doesn't change form in the past continuous (since it's typically used in simple or perfect tenses), you can describe the action of calling in a continuous aspect by using 'was calling' or 'were calling.' For example, 'I was calling my colleague when the power went out.' This sentence illustrates an action (calling) that was in progress at a specific time in the past.