girl friend vs girlfriend

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Do girlfriend and girl friend mean the same?
Can the latter refer to a female friend you have neither a romantic nor a sexual relation with?
If the answer to the 2nd quesion is no, how could you refer to such a person?
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apex2000

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They are both the same. And there is no implied specific relationship; it may be entirely platonic or deeply romantic.
 
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They are both the same. And there is no implied specific relationship; it may be entirely platonic or deeply romantic.

Thank you apex.
I got your point. But what I wanted to know is wheter there is any word you can use to refer to a girl or a woman you're friend with to underline she is a girl/woman as opposed to other friends of yours who are men.
The word friend may refer to a man as well as a woman. What if I wanted the reader to understand that the friend I am talking about is a woman?
 

BobK

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Thank you apex.
I got your point. But what I wanted to know is wheter there is any word you can use to refer to a girl or a woman you're friend with to underline she is a girl/woman as opposed to other friends of yours who are men.
The word friend may refer to a man as well as a woman. What if I wanted the reader to understand that the friend I am talking about is a woman?

I think apex200's response was rather optimistic. If everyone used the language as carefully as he/she does, there would be no difference. In fact, in actual cases, native speakers use word stress to distinguish between /gɜ:l frend/ (two monosyllables denoting a girl who is a friend) and /'gɜ:lfrend/ (a single bisyllabic word denoting a social - and possibly sexual - female partner); when the context requires it, a speaker may underline the fact that 'friend' has no sexual/social connotations by saying something like 'a girl [....] friend - note the stress - we're just friends'.

(This hasn't always been the case. Dictionaries throughout the twentieth century treated the expression differently - originally two words, then joined by a hyphen, more recently one word [much to the chagrin of traditionalists].)

b
 
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I think apex200's response was rather optimistic. If everyone used the language as carefully as he/she does, there would be no difference.

I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you mean.

In fact, in actual cases, native speakers use word stress to distinguish between /gɜ:l frend/ (two monosyllables denoting a girl who is a friend) and /'gɜ:lfrend/ (a single bisyllabic word denoting a social - and possibly sexual - female partner); when the context requires it, a speaker may underline the fact that 'friend' has no sexual/social connotations by saying something like 'a girl [....] friend - note the stress - we're just friends'.

(This hasn't always been the case. Dictionaries throughout the twentieth century treated the expression differently - originally two words, then joined by a hyphen, more recently one word [much to the chagrin of traditionalists].)

b

Thank you so much for your reply.
But what if you wanted to convey this idea in writing?
 

apex2000

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I cannot agree with Bobk simply because his suggestion is abstruse. You are wanting something much easier to relate to and any suggestion of stress, whether on word or syllable, does not in my opinion tell me whether a girlfriend is a girlfriend or a girlfriend (in all cases with a space or no space). My live in partner is much more expressive and easier to understand.
In general speech we might say 'my friend Carla' where we understand that Carla is a friend rather than a girlfriend, whereas 'Carla is my girlfriend' indicates rather more than just a friend. This is just as easily understood in writing. And in the latter case continued writing will surely add further clarity.
 

Anglika

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Surely the easiest way in writing is to use "girl friend" for a girl who is a friend, and "girlfriend" for a girl who is more than a friend.:cool:
 

apex2000

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Surely the easiest way in writing is to use "girl friend" for a girl who is a friend, and "girlfriend" for a girl who is more than a friend.:cool:

If only it was that simple; people will make their own interpretation whichever way you write it.
 

Anglika

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Indeed - but often the context will make it clear.
 

apex2000

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'.....continued writing will surely add further clarity.'(see 6 above)
We are in agreement if not together in time!
 
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Surely the easiest way in writing is to use "girl friend" for a girl who is a friend, and "girlfriend" for a girl who is more than a friend.:cool:

This is actually what I thought could solve the problem.
But I get the idea there is no general convention about this problem. Anyway, as many of you said, the context will certainly make it clear.
Thanks everybody for your replies.
 

BobK

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...
In general speech we might say 'my friend Carla' where we understand that Carla is a friend rather than a girlfriend, whereas 'Carla is my girlfriend' indicates rather more than just a friend. This is just as easily understood in writing. And in the latter case continued writing will surely add further clarity.
Precisely. I think we agree. ;-)

Surely the easiest way in writing is to use "girl friend" for a girl who is a friend, and "girlfriend" for a girl who is more than a friend.:cool:

:up: That's what I do.

b
 
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