Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi. My name's Rebecca. In today's lesson, you will learn what to call people in various situations. Now, this may seem rather basic, but I've actually heard lots of foreigners and English learners make mistakes in this area. So make sure to watch this lesson so you don't make these basic mistakes. Okay? So, how do you know what to call someone? Well, it depends on a lot of different factors. Let's look at what some of them are first. So, is the situation formal or informal? Are you talking to a man or to a woman? Are you speaking to one person or many people? Is it somebody that you know? In other words, do you know their name or is it somebody unknown? And is it a regular kind of a situation or is it a romantic situation? Now, if it's a romantic situation, that's a whole other lesson, but in general, romantically you may call someone: "sweetheart", "sweetie", "love", "honey", and so on, "baby", things like that. Okay? That's romantic. In the rest of the lesson, we'll talk about all of the other options. Okay? So let's start first here. In the first part here at the top, I've marked what you should do if you're talking to someone that you know. In other words, you know the name but it could be a formal situation or an informal situation. Let's start with the formal situation. Now, in some cases, we refer to the... A professional-only a few professionals, not all-we refer to them by their title. What does that mean? For example: you may simply call someone: "Doctor. Doctor, what should I do?" All right? You don't have to necessarily use the name; you can just refer to him as "Doctor", so you're using his or her title. You could also do this for Professor; you don't have to use the last name even though you may know the last name. Let's say the name is Professor Black, but you don't have to say: "Professor Black", you could just say: "Professor". All right? Or if you're talking to a police officer... All right? And even if you see his badge, or his name, or something like that - you could still just refer to the person, whether it's a man or a woman as: "Officer", and that would do. And it's nice to do that, it's polite to do that, it might actually be rather important for you to do that if you're talking to a police officer. Okay? So in some formal situations, you can refer to the person by their title. These are probably the most common. All right? Other than this, we don't usually refer to people as... By their title. Okay? Now, if you know the name but it's a formal situation, so they're not good friends of yours or something like that, then you use: "Mr." if it's a man with the last name. "Mr. Jones". If it's a woman and you know that she's married, you can say: "Mrs. Smith". If it's a woman and she's not married or you're not sure if she's married or not, then you say: "Ms. Brown". Now, "Ms" is spelt: "M-s", but it's pronounced like: "Miz", "Ms.", "Ms. Brown". Okay? So if you're going up to someone and you say: "Excuse me, Ms. Brown." Okay? Or: "Excuse me, Mrs. Smith", and so on. Formal situations. If it's an informal situation with a known person, then of course, you can use their first name if in the past you have been told that it's okay to use their first name. So if you called Mr. Jones, if you said to Mr. Jones: "Excuse me, Mr. Jones", and he says: "Oh, that's okay. You can call me 'John'." Then, you can refer to him as John after that. The same with women's names; Mary or Susan. These are for people who are known to you. Okay? Now, here at the bottom, this is what you do when you're talking to people who you don't know. In other words, to strangers. Right? So if you're talking to a man in a formal situation, you would usually say: "Sir". Okay? "Good morning, sir.", "Excuse me, sir." All right? "May I help you, sir?" All right? Especially in customer service kind of positions or if you work in a hotel - these are very important titles to know. If it's an informal situation... All right? So this is not going to be in a customer service or... Situation. This might be on the street, or at a party, or something; very informal. You could say: "Hey, mister." Or: "Hey, man.", "Hey, dude.", "Hey, bro." All right? Again, informal to very informal. If you're talking to a woman, we don't really have an informal column for a woman that we don't know, so it's usually a little bit more on the formal side. If it's informal, you know the person. All right? So if it's a woman and you don't know her name, you could say: "Madam. May I help you, madam?" Or: "Excuse me, ma'am." So "ma'am" is kind of like an... Sort of like an abbreviation of "madam". So, "madam" or "ma'am". If you're talking to a group of people and they're... Let's say first the group is all men, and if it's a formal situation, you would say: "Gentlemen". Okay? So you're trying to get some... The attention of some men, you could say: "Gentlemen. Excuse me, gentlemen." If it's a group of women, you could say: "Ladies. Good morning, ladies." Okay? If you're talking and you don't know their name. Okay? Once you get to know them, it's a little bit different. If you're addressing a crowd and there's going to be men and women there, usually we will say: "Ladies and gentlemen. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen." And we do put "ladies" first. Okay? We don't say: "Good evening, gentlemen and ladies." That's just not a common expression at all. So make sure you say: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the show." Something like that. All right? Very common expressions and very important expressions, very polite expressions to know. In... Again, in an informal situation or a very informal situation, you could refer to a group of people, men and women as: "Folks. Hey, folks. Let's... Let's be quiet now so she can start." Okay? Very informal. And gets more informal. "Hey, guys. How are you doing?", "Hey, guys. What are you doing? What are you doing here?" Okay? And if you're talking to your children, this is in a family situation: "Hey, kids. Let's go now." Okay? So that's how you're referring to a group of children. All right? You may or may not know them in that case. So quite a few things to keep in mind. It seems basic. Make sure you know these basic things of how to refer to people and it will be a lot easier for you. Okay? If you'd like to do some practice on this, please go to our website: www.engvid.com. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more lessons in basic or advanced English. Thanks very much for watching. Bye for now.