In the children's book 七色花, the girl 珍妮 (Jenny) instructs the magic flower as follows:

Fēnfù ba, jiào wǒ mǎshàng dào běijí!
Command it, call me to the North Pole right away! [Google Translate]
(See DouBan for text.)

From context, the girl is asking the magic flower to teleport her to the North Pole. However, I'm perplexed as to why (jiào; "call", "cry") is used here. Google Translate also seems perplexed. I have never seen it used in this way before.

Question: Why is 叫 ("call") in 叫我马上到北极?

Searching for 叫 到 at YouDao gives sentences like

  1. 你最好他们这儿来 ("you'd better ask them round here"), and
  2. 他把我叫到他的办公室 ("he called me into his room")

so it looks like 叫 has a meaning I'm not aware of, something between "instruct" and "invite", comparable to "called for dinner". But it seems strange for the girl to "call" herself to the North Pole.

  • 叫 can have same meaning as 让,also used for passive, compare use of 被、让、叫 dictionary.pinpinchinese.com/questions/irvkeoHv/…
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 9:45
  • search web using e.g. 叫和让的用法 get many hits,
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 10:28
  • You could translate your sentence to "command it, make me to the north pole right now", or you could use let.
    – xbh
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


叫 (call/ tell) also contains the meanings of "order/ command/ make"

"吩咐吧,叫我马上到北极!" can be translated as:

"Give the order, command me to go to the North Pole immediately!

"Give the order, make me go to the North Pole immediately!

  • Personally I prefer to use "make" as a native Chinese speaker, 'cause the flower pedal cannot give command to the girl to go to the North Pole, while "make" is kind of like "let" or say that the pedal can achieve the goal, like "make it". However I might be wrong about the usage of "command". Any thoughts appreciated.
    – xbh
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 15:47


I think 叫 in this context means ask. So, ask me to go to the North Pole right away!.

This is a colloquial usage. The formal word is 让.

Another example:

他叫我去找他 // he asked me to go find him.


Many common characters can have a lot different meannings, for “叫”, according to 现代汉语规范词典,it could mean the following

v. shout

like 叫喊

v. sound made by animal or device

like 鸡不停地叫

v. call

like 把下一个人叫进来

v. call people to deliver

like 我们再叫几个菜吧

v. command or order

like 我妈叫我少吃点肉 or 叫我马上到北极

v. allow or let

like 我不叫你走

prep. by

like 别叫人笑话你

v. known as

like 这东西叫做什么?

adj. oral. male livestock (whose sound could be big)

like 叫驴

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