Pearson Adult Learning Centre Home
Pearson Adult Learning Centre
 
          
 
  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (January 17, 2010)
 


Woman, Girl or Female? Sensitive Language!

It is difficult, sometimes, to know which word to use among “woman,” “girl” or “female.” Each one carries connotations along with their literal meanings (which can seem quite similar to students unfamiliar with English).

In some circles, especially within families, the word “girls” might be used to describe grown women of varying ages. An alternative, “ladies,” is less demeaning, but still may cause offense if used outside a family. Older Canadians, growing up in a time of different social customs, may sometimes still use the word “girl” to describe a secretary or assistant.

But, no matter where you are, and especially if you are not sure of the customs, it is best to describe females as “women” and a female individual as a “woman.” Take your cues from those around you. When I am with family and comfortable, I might call grown women “girls,” often in a joking and gentle way, but never say that in public or at school.

Listen to people around you. What do they say? To fit in well, follow the social norm.

See our most recent tips.

Tips from November 2001 to April 2002

Tips from September 2000 to October 2001.

Tips from January to August 2000
Tips from January to December 1999

 

 

Visit our Contact Us page to send email to the centre.
Copyright © 1997 to 2009 Pearson Adult Learning Centre, New Westminster School District 40
Web Site Created by The Educated Web
Last modified: July 31, 2009