It was used in Crash Course US history. It is at 6 minute and 17 second.

This appears to be photograph of wounded solders in a hospital. I am going to go ahead and call it as being by Mathew Brady.

I cannot quite get the grammar. Could the speaker omit the as being there? I feel the sentence would do fine without it. If am wrong, tell me please why.

  • Personally, I think this use of call is at the very least "slangy" - in any remotely "formal" context I'd expect identify, label, classify, designate, or similar. So far as I can see, the cited example is syntactically equivalent to The witness identified the accused as [being] the man who hit her. In both cases the word being is "optional" - though for some reason it seems more suitable to include it in OP's example, but not in mine. Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 13:47
  • 1
    "Call" here has the meaning "declare", so the meaning is "I am going to go ahead and declare it as being by Mathew Brady", where "it" is anaphoric to the referent of "this". You could conceivably drop "as being" but there's little point since it would only be treated as a case of ellipsis, with the missing words understood.
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 13:56
  • I'm going to define this as being an easy question to answer. Others might categorize it as being difficult.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 14:28

3 Answers 3


"This appears to be photograph of wounded solders in a hospital. I am going to go ahead and call it as being by Mathew Brady."

Semantic parse:

This usage is spoken: "I'm going to go ahead and call it as being x".

To call something is sports' lingo for what a referee does during a game: to call a foul or to call a play. For example. It has come to mean: to say something about something, to define it.

When looking at a picture or listening to something wherethe person who took the picture or recorded the music or speech, respectively, is not clear, it would be standard AmE spoken English to say: I'm going to call it as being by [some photographer or painter or musician].

This would be used for anything where identifying a person is the issue.

Also, very used: I'm going to call it as I see it. You did steal the money. [Let's say you are having an argument, and you say you did not do something bad. The other person can say that sentence to you.]

Who took the picture? Who is the photography by? Who is the man in the photo? Who is the person recording the message or music?

"I'm going to call it as being John [who took the picture OR made the recording OR who is in the picture].

In this type of case, as being is necessary.

  • I'm going to go ahead and call it as being x"

Go ahead implies there has been hesitation until that point in time.

"As being x" is in line with : x is identified as being [some person or thing].

  • I guess no one is really interested in how this works. Too bad.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 16:32

(going to go ahead and) call it as being is a verbose and somewhat informal way of saying

venture to say that it is ...

To "call" in this sense means "to make and announce a judgment or determination", as an umpire or referee calls a play in a sport, or the doctor in charge declares time of death when a patient has died.

OK, I'm calling it. Time of death 11:53.

it there can be vaguely referential, referring to the situation at hand.

call it doesn't take a prepositional phrase complement.

I'm going to call it by Matthew Brady NO

  • The question is from a video. I don't think verbosity applies here. "I'm going to call it by Matthew Brady" is missing something without "as being". It also could mean: I'm going to call it "By Michael Brady". And that would mean it is a title, rather than being a photography taken by Michael Brady.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 16:35
  • It wouldn't be idiomatic to say "I'm going to call it by Matthew Brady" under any circumstances. That's not how call it is used.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 16:43
  • I misread your "NO" as I don't post mistakes in block quotes like that. But, in fact, you never even explain the "as being" part, which is actually the question. I answered it and was dv'ed. Go figure.....
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 16:46
  • Not my downvote, but I think as is an extremely difficult word to explain.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 16:56
  • With a visual or aural identification situation, you have to have "as being". The issue is not "as".
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 2, 2018 at 18:56

As we know very well on account of being drummed into our heads right since the beginning of the learning of english about keeping the verb 'call ' off the preposition 'as ' , we may find it odd to see 'as ' ensconcing itself by being paired with ' being ' on the excuse that it is going to play the part of a phrase in order to hold the meaning announce or recognize or declare , which , I think , can be taken as they are in the given sentence . If at all , we are insisted on the usage of the verb 'call ' , we had better watch over it to be not attached with 'as ' , the pair of which being considered a taboo in the eyes of any grammarian.

  • Welcome to English Language Learners! Please note that this is a site for learners of English, and even I have a hard time parsing it ... you might want to check the Help Center article How to Answer.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Jan 15, 2022 at 20:59
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    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 5:32

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