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    #1

    lady vs female

    1. Do native speakers refer to a woman as lady. Where I live, it is common to say things like "See the lady over there. Isn't she well-dressed"?

    2. We also say things like 'lady teacher' and 'lady driver' instead of 'female teacher' or 'female driver'. I think we can say 'woman teacher' or 'woman driver'.

    I believe 'woman' or 'female' should be used as indicated in all the examples because a lady refers to a woman regarded as being of superior social status or as having refined manners.

    Thanks.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: lady vs female

    When I was young, 'lady' was the polite word to use; 'woman' was rather derogatory; in the 1960s and 70s, some females began to regard 'lady' as pretentious, preferring 'woman'. A few years ago, 'lady' appeared to be making a comeback.

    Nowadays, I find it safer to avoid the words if at all possible, saying such things as "She's a teacher" (no need to add a gender-defining adjective) and "She's an interesting person to talk to". When I am in conversation with female people () I try to use the word that they use of themselves.

    If I have to talk about the female half of the species in general, I use 'woman/women' - "Women are still under-represented in the boardroom".

    Off-topic ps. As a linguist, I still think of 'gender' as being associated with language, 'sex' with living beings, but I have learnt to use 'gender' for both

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    #3

    Re: lady vs female

    I would be careful with woman driver, which can have a pejorative sense as it has been used by some to criticise the way women drive.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: lady vs female

    I love this quote (not mine):
    Chance makes you female.
    Time makes you a woman.
    Your choices make you a lady.

    I second the comment on not saying "woman teacher" or anything else. Why shouldn't women be teachers, police officers, doctors, etc.? (I feel the same way when they say "male nurse." Who cares?)
    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.

  3. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: lady vs female

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I love this quote (not mine):
    Chance makes you female.
    Time makes you a woman.
    Your choices make you a lady.

    I second the comment on not saying "woman teacher" or anything else. Why shouldn't women be teachers, police officers, doctors, etc.? (I feel the same way when they say "male nurse." Who cares?)
    I agree. Nurses are esteemed professionals, regardless of their gender. With the increase in nurses' salaries (in the US, at least) over the last 25 years or so, we see many more men entering the profession and they are far more visible in hospitals.. Having worked in a large metropolitan hospital for many years, I can say that designating a nurse by gender is no longer as common as it used to be.

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