<<Speaking as a female, yes, I find it very offensive to be called a "guy". If you are speaking to a group that includes women, please show some manners and refer to the group as "ladies and gentlemen" or even just "folks". >>
I'm surprised. In that context, "guys" becomes a neuter word for me; I use it all the time to refer to any group of people -- all male, all female, or mixed. I don't take it literally at all, and nor do most people. And I certainly don't find it ill-mannered.
In fact, I often find "ladies" sort of patronizing and irritating. It's either overly formal, sarcastic, or sort of condescending when it's said in an informal setting. (I find it more appropriate and less annoying when it's said in a more formal atmosphere, where exaggerated politeness is expected.) But that's just me.
>>In fact, I often find "ladies" sort of patronizing and irritating. It's either overly formal, sarcastic, or sort of condescending when it's said in an informal setting. (I find it more appropriate and less annoying when it's said in a more formal atmosphere, where exaggerated politeness is expected.) But that's just me.<<
I have to say that I often get a similar impression with respect to the use of "ladies" outside of rather formal contexts myself, even though for whatever reason I get *less* of such an impression from the use of the singular "lady", which to me often just sounds very polite when not used in constructions like "young lady" (which definitely sounds patronizing to me).
The thing with 'lady' though is that you can't use it in direct address without being rude (at least around here). But you can refer to someone as 'lady'. For example: The manager tells a cashier, "Help the lady over there."
>>The thing with 'lady' though is that you can't use it in direct address without being rude (at least around here). But you can refer to someone as 'lady'. For example: The manager tells a cashier, "Help the lady over there."<<
I would have to say that that is largely true around here as well.
On the money, both of you.
I have to agree with Kirsty here, referring to females as 'guys' is rude, and in my opinion just plain bizarre.
Of course, a person’s viewpoint depends largely on where they are from. In the US 'guys' has obviously become a normal part of addressing more than one person. I remember watching a film when I was five or something called 'The Goonies' back in the 1980's and being absolutely puzzled as to why the 'girls' were referred to as 'guys' - I simply could not get my head around it!!
I wrote, basically the same thing in a previous thread, and Travis replied saying that in the US the word had been 'degendered' (was it ever 'gendered' in the US by the way???) But in some countries this word has not been degendered, and guys are just that - 'guys', certainly here in England this is the case (soon not to be though). And probably the same in Kirstys case too (she is probably not American and therefore finds it as odd as me).
Now I can only speak for myself, but I have always found this form of address intrinsically American and hearing the English use it, not only sounds silly (as if we are doing impersonations or something) but just does not fit in with our style. Addressing my parents as guys, as my little sister has done, sounds ridiculous and down right rude, and is told so. The same goes when addressing my Nan and granddad, my granddad is quicker than me to correct her that 'nanny' is not a 'guy'. Sadly for her, this is confusing as this is a term her generation will no doubt use as frequently as the Americans do (if they don't already).
That is it though, my generation and above still view guys as guys and girls as girls, my sisters generation will be well accustomed to what in my opinion, is a very cringe worthy form of address . Girls calling other girls guys - nooooooo!!! What is wrong with 'girls' – you ARE 'girls'!!!
I am surprised that someone would find 'ladies' irritating, but this must be a cultural thing. I use this all the time, and is still, for me at least, the best way of addressing the fairer sex, I’d never dream of using ‘guys’– ever. In England at least, using ladies and girls for erm….ladies and girls is spot on.
Anyway, how the Americans speak is of no concern of mine, their usage is their business and is as correct as anyone else’s, but the thing is, due to the proliferation of the US media it is also becoming our usage here, so this is of concern to me.
Sadly this is yet another 'Americanisation’ of the language here (and for me, the most irritating one, although this ‘he was like’, ‘I was like’, ‘they were like’ stuff runs it close), but as I said in that previous thread, there’s little that can be done about. I have to like it or lump it I suppose-shame though.
Oh, I realise that the plural you and the singular you needs that little extra distinction, but it surprises me that it seems that many posts are almost implying that ‘you guys’ is the only real alternative to addressing a group.
In England, we have never had this problem; we have managed just fine and have many ways of addressing people informally as well as formally.
When informally addressing ‘guys’ we can use the word 'lads' (dying out to the American 'guys') and fellas. We have the very British 'You lot', which can be used to address men and women, or just women or just men (this is definitely starting to lose ground to ‘guys’ as well though). I like 'Everyone' when addressing a group (which surely is 'perfect' isn't it??) you have ‘people’ as well as ‘you all’, but this is probably best used as the conversation, speech etc is underway rather than a form of introduction. Folks is ok, but I agree with J Lalonde, this does sound rather 'rustic'.
Formally, ladies and gentleman is as ideal as it will get, in my opinion. When addressing two people, you can use, 'the both of you' or the pair of you' or the 'two of you'. See there are many alternatives, at least there are here in England (or should I say ‘were many alternatives’, it looks like, as what’s happened in Australia, it’s going to be all ‘guys’ from here on – booo!!).