You guys – the greeting that grates

Call me old fashioned if you like. But I hate the expression ‘you guys’.

I’m not sure why I dislike it so intensely. It may be because it seems vulgar – I’m not impressed when restaurant staff use it. (I certainly don’t want to be called sir, but ‘you guys’ seems crass and discourteous.) Or it may be because referring to women as guys seems a bizarre and backward development after women spent decades rebelling against the idea that references to men should be taken to include women. (A bit like the infamous 19th century book whose index said ‘for Wales see England’.)

I’m not alone – the Guardian has published a series of letters this week from readers rebelling against ‘you guys’. My favourite was the following:

Can I propose a new year’s resolution that the expression “guys” be banned unless one is actually named Guy.
Guy Sowerby
Bingham, Nottingham

I await a deluge of comments from women saying they’re perfectly happy with the phrase!

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