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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Malayalam
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Jul 2007
    • Posts: 223
    #1

    dear madams

    Suppose you are an interviewee and there are three ladies on the interview board. How would you greet them? Of course, in so far as I have learnt, you cannot say madams. What would you say? I have a faint idea of having read a grammar called Facts of English while I was at college and if my memory is clear there is a hint in that book that you can use "ladies" as the plural of "madam". I don't know whether my knowledge is a bit archaic;nevertheless, I would like native people to comment upon it.

  1. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #2

    Re: dear madams

    You could say "ladies", but why use a noun at all? It would be perfectly polite to say something like 'Good afternoon. Thank you for seeing me at such short notice [or some more appropriate reason for thanking them]' And at the end something like 'Thank you again. It was a pleasure meeting you at last [or whatever is appropriate to your situation].'

    b


    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 556
    #3

    Re: dear madams

    I agree with BobK. "Good morning, ladies" somehow sounds a little condescending, although you would think it would be the opposite. I know I hate it when a waiter addresses a table full of women with "And what will you ladies be having to drink?"

    About the only time I think it would be appropriate to use "ladies" would be as a speaker at the podium. And even then, in the US anyway. there are so many women who find the term old-fashioned at best and demeaning at worst that it's probably better to avoid it completely.

    [native speaker, not a teacher]

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