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@apple posted:

Of the following three sentences, which is most commonly used by native speakers?

1.Jane is the tallest girl in the class.

2. Jane is the tallest in the class.

3. Jane is tallest in the class.

Hello, Apple—The native choice here will depend on the context. If the class has girls and boys in it, and the assertion is supposed to mean that Jane is the tallest student, then "Jane is the tallest in the class" would be natural.

If the class has only girls in it, then "Jane is the tallest" in the class would be used to mean that Jane is the tallest girl. If the class has both girls and boys, the "Jane is the tallest girl in the class" will not compare Jane's height to the boys'.

It is the third sentence that doesn't really make sense, though it would work with a different superlative. For example, "Jane is most nervous in class" would mean that that she is more nervous when she is in class than at any other time.

Thank you, David.

BTW, up to how old would you call someone a girl?

A 4-year-old is a girl. A high school girl, a college girl, etc.

How about 30 year old?

I suppose it depends on  who calls who.

A 95-year- old person may call a 35-year-old female  a girl, but

a  grade school boy would not call her a girl.

Apple







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Last edited by apple
@apple posted:

BTW, up to how old would you call someone a girl?

A 4-year-old is a girl. A high school girl, a college girl, etc.

How about 30 year old?

I suppose it depends  who calls who.

A 95-year- old person may call a 35-year-old female  a girl, but

a  grade school boy would not call her a girl.



Hello again, Apple—This is a controversial question, to which different native speakers will give different replies. The answers will likely vary depending on whether the person answering the question is female or male and on how old the person is who is answering the question.

Since this is really a sociolinguistic matter, not a grammatical matter, it would be interesting to hear how you and other members would answer the question relative to your own cultures. I think that the answer also depends on someone's religion. Some religions have coming-of-age ceremonies.

Whether I call a female a girl depends on a number of factors. It depends on the context of discourse and whether formality or informality is appropriate in that context. It depends on the age of the person to whom I am speaking. It depends on what I perceive to be the maturity level of the female I'm describing.

In general, I'd say that I try to shift from calling a young woman a girl to calling her a (young) lady once she is of college age, though that is a somewhat recent development. In fact, the phrase "college girls" is fairly cemented in my mind, and I'll probably never stop using it.

Perhaps I switch when they are mid-twenties or when they look like mothers ("biggish" mothers). I generally reserve the term "woman" for females whose bodies have gone well beyond the youthful stage, even though, technically, college girls who are gymnasts are participating in "women's gymnastics."

One thing is certain: a grandmother is definitely a woman, not a girl.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thank you, David, for your interesting reply. Thank you also for taking your time to answer my question not really grammar related.

I used to work  as a tour guide in an old capital city, I was showing around  the city to a group of Americans who were well over  50. One of the women called to the other women on the tour , "Come on, girls" I was somewhat shocked!!  Middle aged women call themselves girls!! Wow!

That was many years ago, but the experience is still fresh in my memory and since then, I've been paying attention to who calls who girls and in what  situation.

Apple

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