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.”]