Blog Like A Guy -- use "The" and avoid "And"

Based on an algorithm developed by three Israeli scientists and an American, there is a test out on the web where you can supply a blog entry (or other types of writing) and have it analyzed for whether the author is male or female. I supplied the longest blog entry I have so far and the test returned 5:2 odds that I am male.

What was interesting to me was that the test was not based on content. Instead, it was simply based on word frequency. Apparently " the" is indicative of a male author while the word "and" is indicative of a female author. I suppose that goes to well-known steoreotypes: egotistic male authors (making assertions with definitive articles) and verbose female authors (can't resist getting one more thing in). The word pair with and around (female and male respectively) is similiarly suggestive of female-male steoreotypes: for social skills vs. spatial reasoning.

Incidentally, my blog entry used 26 "the"'s while using only 10 "and"'s -- this disparity pretty much explained the 5:2 odds of my being male.


  1. I put the first paragraph of my prospectus in there and of 253 words, the female score was 43 while the male was 304. It concluded I was male. It cautioned, however, that over 500 words is best.

    Expanding to the first two paragraphs, I still come up male. Now 552 words total, 234 female and 665 male.

    How about a third try with a few paragraphs from the middle of chapter 1? Words: 583, female: 333, male: 841. I'm still male.

    Now, if I were writing from something other than a post-positivist perspective, would it still come out male?

  2. There is a problem with using things like a prospectus or journal articles. You are forced to write in a unnatural style. For example, I've often written a sentence like "We believe that this may be due to X" and had reviewers/editors change the sentence to read "The authors suggest that X may be due to the effect of Y".

    In other words, it's not you -- your field of study has coopted you and quite literally made you sound male in order to fit in.

    Try putting a paragraph of one of your emails. See if you sound female in those ... unless your friends have coopted you and make you sound male to fit in ...