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So there was this question on a facebook group I am in "Would you date me?" and one of the answers was: "No I am into the ladies" and it was from a native speaker and made me quite confused because I have never used a "the" before ladies. Example:

I'm into guys

I'm into girls

Then it made me think about another turn-of-the-century advertisement geared towards men that went something like "Gents, are the ladies turning you down because your....." and in thie case, saying it without the "the" makes it sound so weird.

So I am curious as to what the actual rule here is. Thanks

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    There is no rule, just a convention that 'the ladies' can (not must) be used to mean 'women in general'. It's a rather old-fashioned usage (by 'turn of the century', which century do you mean?) Jun 13 at 7:35
  • I think (completely optional) the before ladies in the cited context is just a very slightly "deferential" reference to those particular ladies who might be available for a romantic relationship. I also think OP's saying it without the "the" makes it sound so weird is completely mistaken - both examples here are totally fine with or without the article. Jun 13 at 13:36
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"The" is used for emphasis when you are expressing a strong opinion about someone or something.

"Would you date me?"

"No I am into THE ladies"

Possibly the speaker was telling you or someone unknown in your chat group, that you/they had no chance.

I was in the right! I know I was!

"The" is often used to emphasise things but as it has many other uses this particular use is not always apparent.


A man can be judged from the theatres he frequents and the ladies who accompany him there.

The point of this sentence being that; He implies that Gentlemen do not frequent certain types of establishment. The speaker strongly disapproves of some so called ladies and he thinks a "Gentleman" would not associate with the likes of those, who would a attend such a place.


the, determiner; (PARTICULAR); used for emphasis when you are expressing a strong opinion about someone or something. Ref C.E.D.

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