Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Sorting the ladies from the women

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Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporati...

Try to avoid the word ‘lady’ unless, if you were talking about a man, you would use the word ‘gentleman’. For example, it is absolutely fine to say: He was a real gentleman. And so, it is also fine to say: She was a real lady. However, the men working in the sales department should not become the ladies working in accounts.

‘Woman’ and ‘women’ are good, strong, down-to-earth words (as are their counterparts ‘man’ and ‘men’); use them confidently and without hesitation.

Gratuitous modifiers or the lady bus driver

Top scientist or top female scientist? 

Marketing man — or woman?

She’s so intolerant, but he doesn’t suffer fools gladly

She’s such a tomboy

Ladies first?

Jack of all trades

Sorting the women from the girls

When is a man not a man?

Am I allowed to say that?


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