When to use the first and the second? For example:

I was walking in the street when someone called me. "Hey, is that you?"

I was walking in the street when someone called me out. "Hey, is that you?"

  • call (someone) out is idiomatic and has a different meaning.
    – user3169
    Jun 9, 2015 at 15:57
  • call out usually has a different meaning but according to the dictionary it could be appropriate even in this case, but it implies that someone called out your name loudly.
    – Formagella
    Jun 9, 2015 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


Interesting distinction:

Called me - As in shouted toward me from a distance, or called me on the phone implies speaking in a certain way (from a distance that requires any amount of volume), also "called out to me"

Called me out - Implies a failed deception (usually friendly) as in "I put a BMW logo on my Toyota, but Jerry called me out." So, I was trying to impress everyone with my fancy car, but Jerry wasn't fooled and told everyone.

Sometimes less friendly, as in "Jerry called me out after I stole from him" meaning a challenge to a fight. I think this is an older usage, I've only ever used the first.

So basically, call as in "call someone" is to speak from a distance and call as in "call someone out" implies minor confrontation or disagreement, usually less than violent

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