"Perdón señora, ¿el aeropuerto está cerca?"
Translation:Excuse me, ma'am, is the airport nearby?
In British English, both of those would come across as a bit rude. We definitely wouldn't say 'ma'am' as that is specifically for addressing the Queen. 'Madam' is technically the best one to fit this sentence, but most Brits would just say 'Excuse me' without the honorific.
Nobody in England would ever use "ma'am, surely other forms of miss, madam, lady etc should be accepted? Generally speaking, it would be enough to say "excuse me" without adding "ma'am". But surely there's a middle grounf between American English and British English allowing for an answer other than "ma'am", which is almost exclusively used in American English. Nobody uses that in Britain. Seems unfair alternatives aren't accepted.
Carolla2, We have proper American English, as you have both proper & some pretty awful British-English slang. Of course there will be regional/Continental differences, but some Americans could justly be insulted by your assuming that if idiomatic phrases are DIFFERENT in our countries, that yours are "proper," & ours are "slang." ...Just sayin'.
At least in the US, you'd never say "sorry" unless you'd bumped her or stepped on her foot. For asking directions, you say "pardon me" or "excuse me". (You can also use those if you've bumped someone, but you usually also say you're sorry, too. "Oh! Pardon me! I'm so sorry!")
Posted on the Forum, SpanishDict by MacFadden: ¨Hello, and welcome to the forum. Traditionally, this has been the distinction: señorita is like 'miss' in English; it is used for unmarried women. Señora is used for married women. However, Spanish has been having something of a gender equality awareness awakening recently, and, at least in some places, there is a trend toward calling all adult women señora¨. Okay, the followng is my take on this subject, since we will be using Spanish when we travel, I try to ignore a translation, even if it is cringe-worthy, to get on learning Spanish. I myself would not call anyone Ma´am but many people use that expression to get your attention. This is not wrong but when people started calling me Ma´am, instead of Miss, I thought, "did I suddenly get old"?
I would say Miss not knowing if she was married or not. I would not insult her by making her think I was addressing her as an older woman. A "madam" or ma'am also refers to a person in charge of a house of ill repute (whore house). Therefore "MISS" should be acceptable! !!!
Ma'am is the correct form of address for soldiers to address a female officer, and is also the correct word to use when speaking to a female member of the royalty when "Your Highness" is no longer required. It is generally used when "sir" would be appropriate when speaking to a male.
Actually Ma'am is used in the UK. It is used to address the Queen. Ma'am to rhyme with "ham." Not sure why ma'am is used, since it is not generally used to address women. But then there is not any other better word. Madam, unless pronounced like an English butler would, has overtones of a bordello. I have heard taxi drivers say "lady," but that is often considered impolite.