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Is it okay to use に to mark the caller when using 電話がかかる? i.e. A received a call from B would be

AはBに電話がかかった。

Google seems to indicate that から is a much more popular choice than に. I find it a bit strange, since I thought (whenever both に and から are viable options) に was preferred for agents and から for sources, and receiving a phone call seems more like the former case.

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I would read this as "A made a call to B". –  Igor Skochinsky Sep 14 '13 at 16:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In the sentence

◯◯に電話がかかった

に indicates the recipient of the phone call. It would be very confusing if you suddenly tried to indicate the caller with に as well. に and から are not both viable options to indicate the caller, because に is already used to indicate the recipient.

If you used に to indicate the caller, it would be like trying to say "I got a package from him" this way:

彼に荷物が届いた

which actually means "he received a package."

You can say "A got a call from B" like this:

AにBから電話がかかった

or more commonly

AにBから電話がかかってきた

If you are the recipient of the call, you can omit the に part and it will be understood:

Bから電話がかかってきた
I got a call from B

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I think you need to look at the nature and type of verb.

かかる is an intransitive verb of direction ("virtual motion" in cyber space) and the sentence describes the direction of the subject, the telephone call: It is natural to describe the starting and finishing points with から and に.

It would be different if this were a transitive verb, or an action being done by one person for/to another. In such cases に might be preferred to から, particularly with a 〜てもらう(etc) type of construction.

Read "ThisSuitisBlackNot"'s answer with this in mind.

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