"good boy" / "good girl"


Senior Member
A student of mine insists the expressions in the thread title are used mainly for dogs, a male one and a female one respectively, as he had reportedly been told so by a native speaker. However, I'm convinced they can also be used for people. For example, in a situation when your child ate up dinner without the usual fussiness. Am I right?
  • PA_System

    Senior Member
    A follow-up question. Is the term "good boy" used both for male and female dogs or should you say "good girl" for the latter?


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I have a male dog and a female one. The female would be most upset and puzzled if I told her "Good boy!" - and vice versa.

    If you don't know the gender of a strange dog, and it isn't visible, you will probably tell it "good boy". If the owner is around, you will probably ask the gender first, (Is it a he or a she?) because people often get upset when you use the wrong word.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In my experience as a dog owner it's very common for people to automatically assume a dog is male.

    The way to get round it is just to say "Good dog!" :)
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