When is it appropriate to refer to someone as a lady? Is woman a better word to use? Is it ever appropriate to refer to adult females as girls? It all depends on context — who’s doing the talking and who’s doing the listening. This is part of a complete episode.

3 Responses

  1. Richard Morley says:

    Maybe there’s a cultural difference, but as a Brit I will always call females “ladies”. No one has told me it’s “creepy”.
    How else would you address a mixed group more formally than “Hey guys” if not by using “Ladies and Gentlemen”.
    I run an English practise group here is Madrid, Spain and always greet the females with “Evening Ladies”. Now, for me, there is a distinction between a “girl” and a “woman”, but was brought up to believe that referring to “That woman over there” was rude and I should be saying “That lady over there” – even if the lady is a “young lady”.
    Incidentally, I feel women who refer to the males in their lives as “boys” are being demeaning. My niece refers to her husband to be as “My boy” and I can’t help but think she’s putting him down. However, I am getting on a bit, so perhaps there’s age specific cultural gap.
    In fact the whole possession thing – my boys, my peeps(ugh!), my girls – I find belittling.

  2. Ron Draney says:

    Richard Morley said
    I run an English practise group here is Madrid, Spain and always greet the females with “Evening Ladies”.

    When you get to the part of the curriculum where they learn about attributive nouns, have fun explaining the difference between that and Ladies of the Evening.

  3. Robert says:

    In “That woman over there”  there is at least a tint of coldness or disdain.   Only appropreate if you’re, say, reporting suspicious activities at airports. But I don’t know why. 

    For some years now the movies  have also tinted the word ladies for me quite a bit-  now I can’t  help linking it to guys calling each other   ladies.  Or sergeant snarling at greenhorn conscripts.  Too much movies!