It appears to me that we say

Hello, boys/girls

to a group of boys/girls, but do not say

Hello, men/women

to a group of men/women.

Is this the case in your particular variety of English? If so, is there a term or reason for this difference, why one form is used and the other is not?

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  • 6
    For adults, we might use "Hello, gentlemen" or "Hello, ladies". Using "men" sounds military. – Lawrence May 2 '16 at 16:40
  • 1
    Appearances can be deceptive. So can reasons. – Lambie May 2 '16 at 17:22
  • To a group of men: Good afternoon or good morning, gentlemen. I would not say Hello, gentlemen. Also to ladies by a man or a woman. Good afternoon, ladies. – Lambie May 2 '16 at 17:26
  • Also seen in "gentlemen ... start your engines". – MetaEd May 2 '16 at 19:58
  • I totally just heard someone say "Hello Ladies, to a group of women. I thought it had disappeared, but apparently not. – Mitch May 2 '16 at 23:18

The noun phrase following an interjection such as 'hello' restricts the intended audience, thus 'hello, boys and girls,' is appropriate when the speech is intended for the children, but adults are also present. 'Hello, ladies and gentlemen' means that you are not addressing the waiters, etc. Otherwise, 'hello everyone' is just as good.


Options are discussed in How to say hello to a group of people?. More familiar, "Hello guys and gals" (see What is a feminine version of 'guys'?) sounds to me closer to "Boys and Girls", and apparently, you can use "guys" only (from the accepted answer of the link above):

"Guys" can be used in English as gender neutral to refer to a group of mixed gender. You will even hear women refer to other women as "guys."

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