I called on your mobile just now, but could not reach you.

Is the construction of the sentence correct?

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The whole sentence is perfectly correct English, except possibly for the word 'on'. Most people (at least in the UK) would say 'I called your mobile just now...' But a few might say 'I called on your mobile...', particularly if they were wanting to emphasise that it was your mobile and not your landline which they tried.

The fact that you use 'mobile' suggests you are learning English in the UK. Americans may take a different view from what I have just said. They are much more inclined to use the word 'call' in relation to telephones than we are.

Were it me I would have said 'I rang your mobile just now...'

Also in Britain we tend not to use 'reach' with telephones. We might say 'get through to', or 'contact' you.

  • Indeed. And "call on" means "literally visit", idiomatically. – Safira Nov 3 '13 at 9:28
  • @safira. Yes, even just saying someone 'called', used to mean they came to visit you. I am not sure if that is still the case, as we have to some extent migrated 'called' to telephone use. – WS2 Nov 3 '13 at 10:48
  • Oh? Thanks. I didn't know about that one. Because I usually use "call" to just "call" (not as well as coming to visit). Or is there any difference between "call" to came to visit and just "call"? – Safira Nov 3 '13 at 11:01
  • 1
    @ Safira. Yes, it was the case, probably 30 years ago now, that 'she called yesterday' would have meant that she came in person. But still we 'call on someone', or we say that someone 'called in'. But if you say, when you are out for a drive, 'shall we call in on Mary', it means to make an unannounced visit. The last one may need a hyphen 'call-in'. – WS2 Nov 3 '13 at 11:58

I think

I called on your mobile just now, but could not have reached you.

is better

  • 1
    This sentence has a different meaning (different use of 'could' to the questioner's). – WS2 Nov 3 '13 at 8:43

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