General Writing and Grammar Help/call TO someone

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Question
Dear Ted:

The following example is taken from an ESL exercise.

"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife. "I'll go look after the stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

My question is this:

What does "to call to someone" mean?

Also, does it differ in meaning from "to call someone"?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

The following example is taken from an ESL exercise.

"There's a cyclone coming, Em," he called to his wife. "I'll go look after the
stock." Then he ran toward the sheds where the cows and horses were kept.

My question is this:

What does "to call to someone" mean?

*** It means that his statement was addressed to his wife and no one else.  In "normal" circumstances, he would have simple SAID something to her.  However, the approaching cyclone made the circumstance very unusual, so his "calling to" her suggests an emergency.  In most cases, "calling to" a person indicates that the volume of one's voice is raised enough, so that the other person can hear.  

"To call someone" does NOT indicate loudness or a critical moment.  You can CALL someone on the telephone, but, if that person is across a crowded room where there is a lot of noise, you would CALL OUT to him.

Ted

P. S.  The passage must be from "The Wizard of Oz."  The farmer called to his wife, "Auntie Em."  He did not call to Dorothy or Toto.  

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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