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Tell me please which one of the following sentences sounds the most natural.

I won't be in time if I take the bus, so I will call a taxi.

I won't be in time if I take the bus, so I will call the taxi.

I won't be in time if I take the bus, so I will call in a taxi.

I won't be in time if I take the bus, so I will call in the taxi.

What I am trying to say is that I will call a taxi so that it can pick me up and take somewhere. I don't mean a specif taxi just a taxi.

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    The first one is correct. The second would be correct if you are in a remote place that has only one taxi. The "call" here means "hail" or "telephone" a taxi. Feb 11, 2020 at 20:31
  • Aside from the main thrust of the question, I'd like to point out that, at least to British ears, the first part of the sentence doesn't quite sound right. For example, we might say: "I won't be there on time ..." or "I won't get there on time ...". The phrase 'in time' is often followed by 'for' or 'to'. e.g. "I got to the dentist in time for my appointment" or "I got to the airport just in time to catch my flight". If appropriate, I would recast your example as: "I will be late if I take the bus, ...". (And, finally, in the UK we often say 'catch the bus' rather than 'take the bus'.)
    – Spiritman
    Feb 1 at 2:54
  • @Spiritman It is conceivable that we might say "in time". If there had, for example been some discussion about a specific event that was going to happen at a particular time e.g. someone is going to be handing out free food between 7.00 and 7.06pm, you might say "I won't be in time if I take the bus". "In time" as you point out refers to a very specific thing, while "on time" is used in a sense that omits reference to anything that is time-critical.
    – WS2
    Jun 16 at 14:34

2 Answers 2

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As a speaker of AmE (Specifically northeastern US), I would use and most often expect to hear "call a taxi" when the speaker means to summon a taxi by telephone or text. If the speaker means to stand at a street corner and physically signal a taxi to stop to pick the speaker up, I would expect to hear ""hail a taxi" or "flag down a taxi" or "stop a taxi".

I believe that "call for a taxi" is significantly less common, but it would be understood. So would "get a taxi".

I would add that "I won't be in time" is commonly used in the US to mean "I will be late" or "I expect to be late" and the event or appointment to whch the speaker expects to be late is often omitted if it is clear in context. So

I won't be in time if I take the bus,

seems very natural to me as a US English-speaker.

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    Any good English speaker would say a taxi.
    – Lambie
    Jun 9 at 20:40
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    None of this differs from what we would say in Britain.
    – WS2
    Jun 9 at 21:29
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Call for a taxi

According to this site:

https://englishlive.ef.com/blog/english-in-the-real-world/useful-phrases-take-taxi-english/

Although this question was previously asked:
Are "call a taxi (a cab)" and "call for a taxi (a cab)" the same?

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    I wonder what “real world” that website refers to? In my Australian idiolect “call a taxi” is far more common than “call for a taxi”. Notice also that the answer accepted for the previous question was from a British English speaker. @lee is your answer in relation to American English (your profile doesn’t help)? If not, we should perhaps wait for an American English response. Feb 12, 2020 at 12:49
  • @OrbitalAussie Can concur: "call a taxi" (or cab, nowadays) is the more common phrase in the UK.
    – Spiritman
    Feb 1 at 2:38

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