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I have found in a novel the sentence “I have made a call: to make a call.” The context is: the female main character is on the run and distressed, and to try and fix her problems she calls a former fiancé, in a hope to manipulate him.

Is “I have made an X[:] to make an X” a standard phrase? Is it a hidden quotation? Or could it be a play on the different meanings of “call” (phone call, call for help etc.)?

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This is not a standard phrase or idiom but rather, as you suggest, a play on two different meanings of "make a call." The first use is in the sense of making a decision, and the second in the sense of telephoning someone.

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    Thanks for explaining it. I didn't get the meaning, specifically of the first half, until you explained it.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 23, 2012 at 12:08
  • English is not my mother tongue. Is “decision” one of the meanings of “call”? Or is it in the phrase “make a call”? I can't seem to find it in my dictionaries.
    – DaG
    Sep 23, 2012 at 12:25
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    I believe this use of "call" is from sense (i) under the definitions of "call" as a noun found at merriam-webster.com/dictionary/call: "the selection of a play in [American] football." Sep 23, 2012 at 15:10
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    @James McLeod: Sometimes. Other times it implies the options are finely balanced even if there's plenty of time - it was a close call, but after a long debate the jury convicted her Sep 24, 2012 at 1:09
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    @DaG: Yes, that's one of the word's meanings. See meaning #58 at Collins. (Or, if you'd rather not visit the link, you can just take my word for it – that's your call.)
    – J.R.
    Sep 24, 2012 at 9:58

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