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The opposite sex in first person?
How to write realistic female dialogue

Is there an inherent difference in how man and women speak that would translate to writing dialogue? I find this hard to contemplate as while I am male, I don't feel that I have found many differences in how the women i have known tend to speak, at least when it comes to dialogue.

Body language and topics and such would and are different, but for dialogue?

To try and give an example, consider a friend comforting another friend over a break-up. Men and Women may try to comfort in a different way, but when speaking about the issue would my hypothetical friend characters dialogue be influenced by their gender?

I'm reminded of a story of an actress replacing a male actor in a big hollywood movie (can't remember which) without any of the lines being rewritten for her, which was not even noticeable.

Is there any kind of established good practice when it comes to writing genders? What is the reasoning behind it, if it does exist?

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    This is a question that could probably be expounded upon at great length. Perhaps it can be narrowed down a bit? What lacks in particular do you need to address in female dialog? Mar 8, 2012 at 18:00
  • And, just to confirm, you're specifically asking how to write women's dialog? Or are you asking if you can ignore the differences when writing dialog? Mar 8, 2012 at 18:10
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    Possibly of use: writers.stackexchange.com/questions/4325/… Mar 8, 2012 at 19:12
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    J.T., I think many of your concerns are addressed by the question Lauren linked; I don't think this is a precise duplicate, but I do think it's difficult to tell what you're asking beyond what that question did. I'm closing for the moment, but if you'd like to come back and explain your question a little better, we'll edit and reopen. Ping me or Neil (@standback or @neilfein) in a comment, and we'll be happy to help you focus the question.
    – Standback
    Mar 9, 2012 at 7:11
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    I also found this, which is maybe even a better match: How to write realistic female dialogue
    – Standback
    Mar 9, 2012 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


First of all, the link that Lauren provided in the comments provides a lot of good, practical information rgearding possible issues in writing from the perspective of a different gender. However, I get the impression that you are more concerned about the dialog, which is most likely going to be different as well.

You need to keep certain aspects of your characters in mind as you write different genders. For example, two guys talking to one another might be included to call each other "Dude". A man and a woman having the same conversation are much less likely to use such terminology. Also, two guys shooting the breeze might be inclined to throw in some colorful language or share inside jokes. They may also have some light banter about a sports topic or about a certain female.

While none of these are expressly taboo for a woman, you will want to make sure that if your female characters engage in such dialog, then the personality and other characateristics you provide for her should fit with that characaterization. For example, a formally educated high class woman is not likely to curse like a dock worker.

The best thing to do is just write your dialog without consideration of the genders. This will be your initial draft and will allow you to just get the words down. Then when you go back and start to edit, you can look at the dialog (and other aspects of your writing) and see if it really fits. That is the point where you will want to be more considerate of the dialog and mannerisms of your characters based on their genders.

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    "For example, a formally educated high class woman is not likely to curse like a dock worker." Well, I have no idea what you mean by "high class", but educated people, men and women, swear all the time. So do upper class people. "High class" is, I suspect, somewhat different to "upper class", and implies value judgements I don't share.
    – TRiG
    Feb 1, 2013 at 23:48

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