Hi teachers,

Please help me clarify the following:

a/Does a " duty man " mean " a person who is on duty ?

What is the opposite of off-duty(adjective)? Is "a duty nurse/manager/receptionist/policeman..." the oppsite of " an off-duty nurse/manager/receptionist/policeman..." ?

b/ Can the phrase" to be on duty" be used interchangeably with " to be on call ". For example, does "he is on duty at 6 AM " be used interchangeably with "he is on call at 6AM" ?

Thank you in advane
I'm not familiar with "duty man." Did you see it in a context that you can describe?

The only professionI can think of when it's common to say "an off-duty X" is an off-duty policeman, because he (or she) is probably still carrying a gun and can make an arrest, even though he's out to dinner and not actively on duty.

When you are on-duty, you are working.

When you are on-call, you are available to be called in to work at a moment's notice. You're home (or out with your cell phone on), you're sober, and you're reasonably close to work (or at least no further than you would be normally at home).

Most professions do not have "duty." An office worker goes to work, and goes home. Only professions that have some sense of being available to handle a crisis are thought to be "on duty." A nurse or doctor at a hospital, a policeman or firefighter, a military officer on watch -- they are all "on duty." When I go to work, I don't consider myself "on duty." I'm just at work. At the end of your shift, you go "off duty," but it's rare to then be thought of us "an off-duty doctor" - she's still just a doctor. Likewise, once the naval officer goes off duty, she's not an off-duty officer - she's jut not "on duty."
I'm not sure about some of these. To be "on duty" is to be actively attending to the duties of the job, whether you're a nurse or a mechanic. To be "on call" usually means you can be easily and quickly reached in an emergency, and can soon arrive at the location where you're needed. You're usually paid for being on call, even though you may spend the entire time at home watching TV.

Duty man, duty nurse on-duty man, off duty man are terms which apply as a matter of custom to certain trades or professions. I don't think you can make up nonce words at will

"Off-duty policeman" is very common because they can still function under color of authority when necessary. They often intercede when they happen on a crime in progress. An off-duty nurse might be pressed into service similarly, on a volunteer basis. "Is there a doctor in the house?" is a common request, but I've never heard the expression "off-duty" doctor - although doctors when associated with hospitals often have strict schedules and regulations for being "on duty" and "on call." Industrial mechanics are often "on call" when a production operation is critical and must be kept running.

"Duty officer" is a common military designation.

That's about the extent of my knowledge on the subject. - A.
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Hi Avangi and Feebs,

I see in a book talking about hospitality services the words " duty man " , " duty receptionist " and "duty manager " and I guess they are" man on duty" receptionist on duty" and "manager on duty".It that right ?

Best wishes
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That's the logical conclusion, Van.