Do you know when you can call a group of girls “guys”, or when your “girlfriend” is just a friend and not your lover? Do English speakers give you confused looks when you talk about your partner? Well, watch this English vocabulary lesson, and be confused no more. Understand what REAL English speakers mean when they say someone is their partner, brother, girlfriend, and more.
Confusing Sex & Gender Words in English – girlfriend, guys, partner… video
No entiendo nada. Hey. James, from EngVid, speaking Spanish. Si? I’m looking at a French book, but you guys understand. It’s good for a teacher to learn different languages because as they get better, they understand how to teach you, right? Right, guys? Come to think of it, there’s a word I was thinking about. I’ve been asked by many a student, “When we say, ‘guys’, can we use it for everybody or is it just for men or” — because they get confused because in North America, we use the word “guys”. And when we do, we use it for groups of people that could be male and female. Now, in our language, you don’t have, really, gender. There’s no “el” as in — excuse me for a second. You know, in Spanish, you’ve got the “el”, or the “le” in French and the “la” — we don’t have any of that. No. Not at all. So most people assume there’s no gender, but I have a secret. In English, we do have gender. Come on. We’re going to go to the board. We’re going to work it out, all right?
So what do I mean by “gender words”? Well, there will be no cue like this. And this is what makes it confused, and that’s why this is “confused words in English”. Because they’re confused gender words — words that can be used by only one sex, and only one sex uses them in this way. And if you say it a different way, you will confuse us. Okay? So why don’t we start off with, well, No. 1. See? Confused. Two is over here; one is over here. The lesson has begun. Mr. E secretly is watching me teach this lesson. This is the female symbol and the male symbol because these are gender words. “Gender” means “sex”, and we mean “boy”, “girl”, “men”, “women”. Your “gender” is your “sex”. When you fill out forms in English, it will say “male”, “female” — that’s gender. Okay? Are you male, man, female, woman? So now we’re there, why don’t we go and take a look.
“Guys”, I started with “guys”. You’ll notice that “guys” has — well, we got two guys and a girl. We can also have mini guys, Mini Mes. Okay? A group of men can be called “guys”. A group with even one woman can still be called “guys”. And a group with all women could be called “guys”. But you cannot call a group of men “girls”. If you go, “Hey girls! Hey girls!” They’re all gay. I’m sorry if anyone says, you know, “Whoa!” But it’s — “girls” would be gay, you know. Or we use it as an insult to guys, “Look at the girls over there.” Because we’re saying, “They’re not He-Men like us. So they’re a bunch of girls!” Right? “Quit crying, you girls!” So when we use “girls” as a reference to guys, it’s an insult either in, “You’re not a man” or we’re saying they may be of a different sexual orientation. You like those big words? I do, too. Okay. So that’s one thing to think about.
So you’re going to think, “Okay, so I can use ‘guys’ all the time.” Well, you’re right. But there is one difference. You don’t use “guys” with older, mature women because it’s almost insulting because they’re going to say, “We’re ladies. We’re women, not guys. We’re not little girls.” Right? Even older businessmen like being referred to as “guys” because it’s that sports, macho, manly thing. Right? “Look at the guys.” “Let’s go, guys.” But if it’s an older woman or a group of older women, please say, “ladies”. All right? Or “women” — do not call them “guys” unless they have moustaches, and they’re really old. Anyway. That’s different.
So “guys” you understand that one. That’s one of the confusing words. So simply, to make it simple so you understand exactly what I want, “guys” can be used for any group with a female in or a completely — a complete group of females, okay, and males. For males, it can be used for young males to older males, no problem. Our exception is with older females; you must actually call them “ladies” or “women”.
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