If I'm attempting to be booked to do an event, and I'm saying: "we're now booking dates for such and such". Is that proper usage of booking?

Or should I say, "we are being booked for dates in such and such"?

  • You need to be a little careful. Saying that Joe "got booked", without sufficient context, could imply that he was arrested. (But in your specific example "we are now booking dates..." is the proper phrasing.)
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 20 '14 at 16:06
  • @HotLicks Slightly different in the UK. People don't get "booked" by the police - they get "pulled-in", as a result of which they may get "had up", (in court). But football referees "book" players, if they misbehave. I can also say "we got booked to stay at the Fleapit Hotel without much trouble".
    – WS2
    Mar 11 '19 at 19:43

If we're seeking to be booked to do an event

I would say:

We are now looking for bookings for dates after 24th January.


I think I would say:

We are now taking bookings for dates after 24th January

  • AHDEL includes the sense 'book (v) 4. To be hired for or engaged in: The actor has booked his next movie with that director.' But I'm not sure 'taking bookings' is commonly used in the 'looking for bookings' sense. Dec 20 '14 at 10:49
  • @EdwinAshworth But it would be equivalent to 'were now booking dates...', wouldn't it. That is what the OP asks. Otherwise I suppose 'We are now open/available for bookings from 24th January...'
    – WS2
    Dec 20 '14 at 11:49
  • Normally, you can transform expressions according to 'the rules', but it gets complicated when contrasting and especially quirky usages are encountered. Thus on Google, 'No results found for "Beatles were taking bookings".' For instance, 'vote' has a sense you're probably unaware of, according to Collins: (v)(tr) to influence or control the voting of: do not try to vote us!. But 'Vote Kennedy' would surely not be used with this sense (although that would not be a violation of 'the rules'). Dec 20 '14 at 11:58
  • My take is that, as a general rule of thumb in UK English, the place/person with facilities/services that other people come to 'takes bookings' and people who wish to avail themselves of those things 'make bookings'. People who take services to their customers at arranged times 'book appointments/dates/slots/classes/etc'.
    – Spagirl
    Nov 1 '17 at 10:28
  • @Spagirl It's nearly three years since I wrote that. Could it be that people who "take their services to their customers" accept bookings? In which case "We are now accepting bookings for dates after 24th January". I certainly don't think that "we are now booking dates" should be tolerated. If there is one thing I loathe more than a visit to the dentist it is the use of the active voice when you mean the passive - "I am interviewing for jobs in the theatre", meaning "I am being interviewed..."
    – WS2
    Nov 1 '17 at 16:33

In your case, specifically when reserving times and dates, you can use to book [something] as a synonymous verb in that context.

He is booking the hotel for Sunday.

However, I give you fair warning against using the phrase "being booked" (passive voice), as it sometimes gives the connotation of criminal offenses.

He was booked on charges of breaking and entering.

  • I'd call that one of its denotations. This sense could well pop into the hearer's mind when the other sense is intended; it would in this case be the connotation. Dec 20 '14 at 10:40

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