Gender, genre, and writing style in formal written texts

Shlomo Argamon, Moshe Koppel, Jonathan Fine, Anat Rachel Shimoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

361 Scopus citations


This article explores differences between male and female writing in a large subset of the British National Corpus covering a range of genres. Several classes of simple lexical and syntactic features that differ substantially according to author gender are identified, both in fiction and in nonfiction documents. In particular, we find significant differences between male-and female-authored documents in the use of pronouns and certain types of noun modifiers: although the total number ofnominals used by male and female authors is virtually identical, females use many more pronouns and males use many more noun specifiers. More generally, it is found that even in formal writing, female writing exhibits greater usage of features identified by previous researchers as 'involved' while male writing exhibits greater usage of features which have been identified as 'informational'. Finally, a strong correlation between the characteristics of male (female) writing and those of nonfiction (fiction) is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-346
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • Comparative linguistics
  • Computational stylistics
  • Discourse analysis
  • Gender-based writing style
  • Stylometrics


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