Differentiating Dialogue by Gender

In my quest to differentiate the dialogue in my WIP, I came across many sites that listed the differences between a man’s speech and a woman’s speech and so I decided to compile them into an easy reference. Before you read these lists, please note that there are as many sites that refute  these points as there are ones that make them so you know, grain of salt and all that stuff. And here we go…


  1. Use commands more than questions (“Do this” not “Can you do this?”).
  2. Don’t use tag questions (e.g., …, is it?) as softeners but will use them as confirmation.
  3. Less likely to speak at the same time as someone else but more likely to interrupt someone else speaking. 
  4. More likely to ignore someone else’s comments/questions.
  5. Don’t use adjectives, fillers, adverbs.
  6. Resist commands or implied commands, especially from women. (For example, “We should” is seen as a command).
  7. Look for solutions or actions in other’s speech.


  1. Use more lexical hedges or fillers, (e.g. you know, sort of, well, you see).
  2. Use more tag questions, (e.g. she’s very nice, isn’t she?) as softeners.
  3. Use more empty adjectives (e.g. divine, charming, cute) and emphatic stress (e.g. it was a BRILLIANT performance),
  4. Are more precise with adjectives such as colors (e.g. magenta, aquamarine).
  5. Use more intensifiers, such as just and so (e.g. I like him so much).
  6. More likely to be polite (e.g. indirect requests) rather than commanding.
  7. More likely to avoid strong swear words.
  8. More likely to speak at the same time as another women, but wait their turn with men.
  9. Look for sympathy, understanding, relationship building.
  10. Less likely to use humor.

For further reading on this subject, there are some great posts from Traci Marchini and Lynne Kelly.

Category: On Writing