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    #1

    madam or ma'am

    Dear teachers,
    I have a problem with using Madam and ma'am.

    Is it okay to use ma'am to all women(specially American)?

    But in Asia, we use madam for all women and there is no case with that. I think the term Madam is not used in AmE because I remeber one American lady had told me that about thar case but I am still stuck on that.

    Could you please clarify that?

    Thanks.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: madam or ma'am

    In BrE, 'madam' is used by some sales assistants and wait staff in restaurants,

    'Ma'am' is used to female superiors in the armed services and the police service, to the Queen and in a few other situations.

    Most speakers of BrE, however, rarely use either word.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 22-Jan-2014 at 12:31.

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    #3
    Thank you so much 5jj. May I know what the another word is used more commonly in UK if either is not used often?

    I look forward to hearing from AmE natives speakers since I feel the term could be different in AmE.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by kite; 22-Jan-2014 at 12:30.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: madam or ma'am

    We generally don't use any particular word when addressing men or women. We just talk to them.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5
    Thanks I got it. It is really strange to our culture and special as well. :)

    But I would be glad to hear from Americans.

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    #6

    Re: madam or ma'am

    Use "ma'am" to politely address a woman. You can use "miss" for a girl or young lady (if you called a 20-something female a "ma'am" they would probably feel that you thought they were "old").

    "Madam" is usually only used to refer to the woman who runs a brothel or other prostitution ring. So, it's not usually used to refer to ladies.

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    #7

    Re: madam or ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Use "ma'am" to politely address a woman. You can use "miss" for a girl or young lady (if you called a 20-something female a "ma'am" they would probably feel that you thought they were "old").

    "Madam" is usually only used to refer to the woman who runs a brothel or other prostitution ring. So, it's not usually used to refer to ladies.
    In Hong kong we use 'Madam' to address policewomen.

    Not a teacher

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    #8

    Re: madam or ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Most speakers of BrE, however, rarely use either word.
    I do use sir and madam when, for instance, trying to attract a stranger's attention, but most don't.

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    #9

    Re: madam or ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    Most speakers of BrE, however, rarely use either word.
    That is true, but I use sir, ma'am and miss a lot, having spent a lot of time in the USA and believing that these simple words of courtesy are among the best features of American social interaction and I'd like to hear them more often in the UK.

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    #10

    Re: madam or ma'am

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    That is true, but I use sir, ma'am and miss a lot, having spent a lot of time in the USA and believing that these simple words of courtesy are among the best features of American social interaction and I'd like to hear them more often in the UK.
    It would make me feel as if I were in an episode of Downton Abbey! Or that I'd joined the military (that doesn't apply to "Miss").
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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