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Hearing the usual greeting on a train, I started wondering if there is already an established alternative to "Ladies and Gentlemen" that is applicable beyond the male/female classification. (For example, job adverts now often include m/w/x to take the third gender into account. Apologies if I used any of the gender related terms not perfectly correctly.)

PS: in response to a comment, let me perhaps restrict the scope to a term that can be used in formal settings.

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    This is so broad as to be difficult to answer. Why not folks, friends, esteemed guests, patrons, y'all, distinguished guests, everybody, Proudfeet, and the tens of other variations? Mar 27, 2019 at 19:10
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    @TaliesinMerlin I added a PS to restrict the scope. You already provided some excellent alternatives for non-formal occasions. Mar 27, 2019 at 19:14
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    As TaliesinMerlin suggests, "everybody" and "everyone" would work well in most situations—although they might viewed as tending to exclude disembodied personages and conjoined twins.
    – Sven Yargs
    Mar 27, 2019 at 19:17
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    Just say "Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone else." After all not all the females in the crowd are ladies, and not all the males in the crowd are gentlemen. (Remember the Three Stooges shtick -- Someone says "Gentlemen!" One of the Stooges replies "Who came in?")
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 27, 2019 at 19:51
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    Where are you that job adverts mention gender at all? That may affect the answers that will work for you. I'm only familiar with it from Germany, where it's a consequence of inclusive policies combined with linguistic gender but carries over into English.
    – Chris H
    Mar 27, 2019 at 19:59

3 Answers 3

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You can use everyone, which is what the London Underground now uses:

Underground staff have been instructed to begin their announcements with phrases like, “Hello, everyone” and “Good morning everyone.” The transit organization Transport for London (TfL) writes that “Ladies and Gentlemen” has also been scrapped from pre-recorded announcements.

Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL, says in a statement that the change was made because the organization wants "everyone to feel welcome on our transport network.”

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  • Yes. The Japanese use the term minasan - (everyone). They also have the single term "san" which covers Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms etc. In many respects Japan is seen as a misogynistic society, but gender terms are so neutral as to be an inconvenience.
    – WS2
    May 28, 2019 at 21:36
  • NS (Dutch Railways) use "dear travellers".
    – SQB
    Jul 10, 2020 at 20:09
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"Ladies and gentlemen" is a phatic expression, that is:

communication which serves a social function, such as social pleasantries that don't seek or offer any information of value.

If you're going to cut hairs on even that phrase, then you should be saying

Ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls and teen and preteens and elders and babies and deceased and conceived and...

But we all have things to do with our lives. So we just say "ladies and gentlemen." (Now, people who don't have things to do might wonder about that expression and why it isn't more "inclusive," but I digress...)

As to the context of your question, if it were on a train, the announcer could simply say, "Attention passengers."

Boom, done. Next.

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  • To be fair, "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" is also an idiomatic expression.
    – nick012000
    Dec 22, 2021 at 5:19
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It's possible to say "ladies, gentlemen, and between/beyond" if you want to still use the phrase and be inclusive.

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  • lol. good one.!
    – Carly
    May 28, 2019 at 16:21
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    Hello, 346. I assume that this is a DIY suggestion; ELU is solely about established English usage. May 28, 2019 at 18:05

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