Roll Call or Role Call – Which Spelling Is Right?

When a teacher goes down a list of names in a class, we call it taking attendance. But is another name for this roll call or role call? Role and roll are homophones, like play it by ear and year, so it’s very easy to confuse these two words. In this post, we’ll teach you the different meanings of these two popular phrases.

Which Is Correct: Roll Call or Role Call?

pictre of a teacher taking roll call

Everyone has been in a classroom or business meeting where the person in charge reads the names of all the participants. If they do not respond, the person is marked as absent. Is this process called roll call or role call? There are many tricky phrases and words in the English language, like bare with me or bear with me, that is very easy to confuse.

  • Roll Call – The noun “roll call” is defined as “a process of calling out a list of names to establish who is present.” The first roll call dates back to when the very first school was created…a long time ago.
  • Role Call – This is a common phrase that is a typo of the phrase “roll call”. Just like the words incase and in case, both phrases sound alike, but have different meanings.

Takeaway: If you are referring to the process of taking attendance, use roll call.

How To Use Roll Call

The phrase “roll call” is far more versatile than many people think, just like the words nonetheless or even nevertheless. Most commonly, it can refer to the roll being taken in a classroom, office, or another similar setting.

  • Can also be used when asking for volunteers; the person in charge may say something like “Let’s do a roll call for those interested in signing up for this event.”
  • Used when introducing members of a team; for example, “Now it’s time for a roll call of our favorite superheroes”.
  • Can be used for military purposes, you might use “roll call” when referring to an organized list of items—such as a shopping list—”I’m going to do a quick roll call of our supplies before we go shopping”.

Sentence Examples

  1. Calling a roll call is a common but important practice in many classrooms, companies and other institutions.
  2. The teacher or supervisor will announce the names of all people present during the roll call one by one, and each person needs to answer confirming his/her presence.
  3. Roll calls are also an effective way to familiarize everyone with everyone else’s name, especially in large groups.
  4. Another use of roll calls is to confirm attendance for critical events such as meetings and training so that no one will miss any important information.
  5. As a security measure in certain organizations; supervisors can quickly complete a list of required personnel by doing a quick roll call check.

How To use Role Call

The phrase role call is a spelling mistake, like to long and too long, and should not be used in your writing. Role normally refers to a position an actor plays in a TV show or movie.

This phrase is commonly used in writing, but that doesn’t mean it is correct. If you are referring to calling attendance, you should say “call roll”.

Roll vs. Role

In English, the words “roll” and “role” are similar in pronunciation yet have different meanings. There are many words, like gooses or geeses, which sound similar but have different definitions.

The verb “roll” typically involves moving an object around or over a surface.

  • For example, one might say that they rolled a ball across the room or that they rolled up their sleeves.

Alternatively, the noun “role” refers to a part or character someone plays in a given situation. This might be a role in a job, relationship, or activity.

  • For instance, one person may have the role of leader while another plays the role of follower.

Takeaway: It is important to remember that “roll” should only be used as a verb when discussing motion and movement, while “role” should always be reserved for describing characters and positions in various social contexts.

Memory Trick

I often give my students simple memory tricks to memorize spelling and grammar rules. To memorize this spelling rule better, consider this trick:

  • In the old days, a list of names would be rolled up on a piece of paper. Remember the phrase “roll up a roll call” to avoid making this silly spelling mistake again.

There are also different spelling rules depending on where you are located in the world. For example, the aunty or auntie USA spelling rules are different in the UK!

Other Mistakes Writers Make

  • Use Role Model instead of Roll Model
  • Use Dice Roll instead of Dice Role
  • Use Role Play instead of Roll Play
  • Use Let’s Roll instead of Let’s Role

Frequently Asked Questions

What is correct roll or role?

If you are talking about a job or duty that you are assigned, then the correct word is “role.” For example, “I have the role of treasurer on the executive committee.” If you are talking about a type of behavior, then the correct word is “roll.” For example, “He likes to roll around in the mud.”

What are role calls?

“Role call” is a common typo for the phrase roll call. A roll call (or roll call procedure) is a process in which the attendance of a body or meeting is verified. Some people also call this process “calling roll”.

What happens during roll call?

At many schools and workplaces, roll call is used to verify that everyone is present. The person in charge of taking roll call will typically call out a name and wait for a response. If there is no response, the person in charge may assume that the person is absent and mark them as such. The word roll and word role are commonly confused.

Is Roll Call required for a meeting?

In general, roll call may be required for a meeting in order to make sure that all attendees are present and accounted for.

The Bottom Line

The English language is full of homophones. These words are pronounced the exact same but have different meanings. The phrases roll call or role call are no different! By now you know that roll call is the correct phrase to use when referring to attendance. Role call is simply a common misspelling that new writers often make. Use our spelling review tool if you need some extra help!