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  1. #11
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    They are fine in the US.
    I agree with 5jj about them sounding odd these days in BrE. Can I just check then, MNY, if you saw a 15-year-old female in front of you in the street drop a $50 bill, would you try to attract her attention by shouting "Young woman, I think you dropped something"? That sounds very strange to me and I can't imagine hearing any of my American friends using it. I would expect them to shout "Ma'am, I think you dropped something" or just "Pardon me/Excuse me, I think you dropped some money" etc.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  2. #12
    UM Chakma is offline Member
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by I.M. Knott View Post
    "Ma'am" is fine for an old lady, or any adult woman. Some women, however, are rather sensitive about this usage. They feel that "ma'am" suggests an "older" woman than they perceive themselves to be.
    "Miss" is technically correct for an unmarried female of any age, even for young girls. If you don't know her well, "Miss" is always a safe bet.
    "Boy" refers to a male under 12. Use his first name or "young man" in addressing a boy directly. As he matures, "young man" is still appropriate for a long time. "Sir" implies some degree of respect for the man so-addressed.

    Is "Miss" okay for age between 30 to 40(specially married)?

  3. #13
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by UM Chakma View Post
    Is "Miss" okay for age between 30 to 40(specially married)?
    In BrE, 'Miss' is commonly used only by pupils in primary and secondary schools addressing their (married or unmarried) female teachers.

  4. #14
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I agree with 5jj about them sounding odd these days in BrE. Can I just check then, MNY, if you saw a 15-year-old female in front of you in the street drop a $50 bill, would you try to attract her attention by shouting "Young woman, I think you dropped something"? That sounds very strange to me and I can't imagine hearing any of my American friends using it. I would expect them to shout "Ma'am, I think you dropped something" or just "Pardon me/Excuse me, I think you dropped some money" etc.
    If it were clearly a teenager, I would not use "ma'am." I'd use "young lady." But I'm old enough to be that teen's mother. A teen would almost certainly use "dude" for a male teen. I have no idea what they'd use for a female teen. When mine wake up, I'll ask them.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #15
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I agree with 5jj about them sounding odd these days in BrE. Can I just check then, MNY, if you saw a 15-year-old female in front of you in the street drop a $50 bill, would you try to attract her attention by shouting "Young woman, I think you dropped something"? That sounds very strange to me and I can't imagine hearing any of my American friends using it. I would expect them to shout "Ma'am, I think you dropped something" or just "Pardon me/Excuse me, I think you dropped some money" etc.
    I doubt that any 15-year-old American girl would appreciate being called ma'am. I know women in their 30s and 40s who would object. Yes, I would certainly say "Young Lady" or "Miss" to the girl in question.

  6. #16
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The same applies in Australia as what 5jj said. We simply don't have terms for addressing young people we don't know.
    What about "mate?" And is there any truth to "Sheila?"

  7. #17
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I doubt that any 15-year-old American girl would appreciate being called ma'am. I know women in their 30s and 40s who would object. Yes, I would certainly say "Young Lady" or "Miss" to the girl in question.
    Ah, so "Young lady" or "Miss". I was thrown by one of your previous posts where you said you would use "Young woman" for a young female whose identity you didn't know. That was what I thought sounded very unlikely. I wasn't sure if "Excuse me, miss, you've dropped something" would work - glad to know it would.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #18
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Ah, so "Young lady" or "Miss". I was thrown by one of your previous posts where you said you would use "Young woman" for a young female whose identity you didn't know. That was what I thought sounded very unlikely. I wasn't sure if "Excuse me, miss, you've dropped something" would work - glad to know it would.
    Yes, I did write "Young Woman" earlier. 'Young Lady" would be better.

  9. #19
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    What about "mate?" And is there any truth to "Sheila?"
    We don't call a woman "Sheila". A woman is a sheila. It's never been a term of address. Even so, I haven't heard it in ages in real life.

    As for 'mate', yes you have a point. You can't always use it though. It's a bit like the American "buddy, pal", etc. They aren't always appropriate. I think the OP is looking for a term that, by definition, is always appropriate and should be used when you don't know someone's name.

  10. #20
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: How to address a young or elderly lady and man

    So I asked my teen last night what she would say. She agreed with "ma'am" for an adult female, "sir" for an adult male, and "dude" for a male teen, but was at a loss for a female peer. She thought she'd probably just say "Excuse me!" loudly.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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