A reader asked about the phrase “to call out sick,” which I had never heard, so I suspected it is a regionalism. I posted a simple message on my Grammar Girl Facebook page asking people to let me know what the phrase is where they live, and I got an amazing 145+ responses in less than a day (with some people reporting on multiple regions where they had lived or worked). I was inspired to compile it all into a map, which you will find below. (Ta da!)
Red = call in sick
Yellow = call out sick
Green = call off sick
Blue = mixed
Click the map to go to the larger, interactive Google map.
I noticed a few interesting things as I was entering the data:
- “Calling out sick” seems to be most common in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, although it is heard in other places.
- People in Texas all just said they live in Texas instead of giving me a city. That struck me as odd, since Texas is such a big state.
- A few people noted that they had seen a difference between different companies in their city. It may be that corporate culture or traditions have as much to do with this as regional differences. [UPDATE 08/12/09: After reading your additional comments, I’m even more convinced corporate culture plays a part in this, although there are clearly regional differences too.]
If you haven’t contributed to the map yet, leave a comment and I’ll add a pin for you.
Remember, this is an unscientific survey that to date only includes people who were Grammar Girl fans on Facebook. It may have all kinds of biases! [Added 8/10/09, 11:25 am: As some people have noted, the way I originally asked the question could have skewed the responses too because it may have sounded like I only wanted people to respond if they said “call out sick.”]
Call in sick.
Call In Sick
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Call-in sick :-}
Call-in sick. Sorry I forgot my location last post, :-\
The company I work for uses the phrase, “call out sick.”
I am in Scottsdale, Arizona; my company headquarters are on the east coast.
Grew up in/live in: Brattleboro, Vermont
Call in sick (cause you are “calling in” to the office)
My husband and I both would say this. (He lived in Germany and Schenectady, NY with a mom who grew up in Schenectady.)
And either you have no followers in Montana and Wyoming, or they don’t get sick there.
Love the map too! “call in sick” would be the term used in Montana