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  5. "Vi havde ikke kaldt på tjene…

"Vi havde ikke kaldt tjeneren."

Translation:We had not called for the servant.

December 19, 2015



In English, we use both "called on" and "called for," often interchangeably. "På," in Danish works for both prepositions. What is the difference indicating "we had not called on the servant" is incorrect?


Huh, as a native English speaker, I would never say, "We had not called on the servant." I might say, "We had not called on the servant to perform that task" (though that still sounds oddly formal to me). I can't speak to the Danish nuance here, but I don't think called on and called for are actually interchangeable in English (at least not in the American English I speak). To me, "We had not called for the servant" means "We hadn't asked him to come over here," while "called on" only makes sense to me as "asked him to do something in particular." My guess is that you're getting marked wrong for called on because it means something different.


I'll admit breaking into song here might be uncalled for, but...I'll just call on you, brother, when I need a friend...


uncalled for... I see what you did there :)

But I think the point stands. There's a pretty complete breakdown of phrasal verbs related to call at this link: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/call+on

Note that call for is defined: To appear, as on someone else's premises, in order to get—"The chauffeur will call for you at seven." That's the sense that I think is being used in the Danish sentence above.

Call on is defined: to order or request to undertake a particular activity—"called on our friends to help." I think the song you're referring to is still referring to that sense. (The speaker is calling on the listener to perform the role of a friend as needed).

I think the speaker in the Danish sentence is just talking about whether the waiter got signaled with a hand gesture or something similar, not whether the waiter was called on to undertake something in particular. (I switched to waiter because I tend to translate tjener that way in my head, which also makes the example clearer to me).


Well, I do appreciate the input. :)


However, as you say, you "think" the song and the sentence "refer" to the senses explained in your definitions. The context is not given in either. Therefore, I think 'on' should be accepted (in my opinion). And, as other English speakers here have stated (and I am an AES) that phrasing is used, though I agree with mdn73 about leaving out the preposition altogether.


I'm also a native English speaker and I put 'called on'.


I also get that one wrong because 'called on' makes more sense to me. Maybe it is a colloquial thing.... Honestly, I am more likely to say that 'I did/didn't call the server' than I would be to add a preposition to that statement.

  • 1365

Agreed, Melissa (and Krys). I use "called on" regularly in my northwestern U.S. dialect. Good point. Maybe it is colloquial. Either way, it should probably be accepted.


I think you should stick with "the waiter" instead of servant. I don't believe that a "servant" is a very PC label in the Western World. There are housekeepers and butlers, and maintenance personnel even house staff but I haven't heard servant in years.


That is exactly what I would say - it is a term maybe from the turn of the last century...


I thought that a "tjener" was a waiter - does it also apply to a butler for instance?

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