What writing quirks of yours would have you pegged as the "anonymous Op-Ed writer"?

Many claimed the use of “Lodestar” pointed to Pence. Others have different theories, most of them based on “Person X said this phrase back in 1995, so it’s obviously her!” logic.

So, in that case, what writing quirk, commonly used phrase, or other would make your authorship of an anonymous piece not so anonymous?

With me, it’s probably overuse of commas or my irritating tendency to use the same word multiple times. As well as my one-sentence paragraphs, or, better, my one word paragraphs.


In French, I realized that I use the phrase “quand même” (all the same, anyway or a “meaningless” intensifier depending on context) far too much. Sometimes three times in as many sentences.

I use the semicolon quite a bit more than the average writer.

A suspicious number of accidnetl typos. Recently, a tendency to go “WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP!” at random times. Also, a certain tone of underlying wistful melancholy, caused by too much time spent being drunk, bald and horny (not necessarily in that order).

Apart from, that, n… WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP! … not much.

Lessee - sloppy spelling of dunno, gonna, stoopit, etc as well as liberal use of ellipses…?

I’d like to think my formal writing is a tad more disciplined, tho.

Can’t think of any.


I, have a bad habit of using too many commas (and unnecessary parenthetical clauses (many English teachers tried to cure me of this)(they failed)), and in the wrong places.

Heavy focus on numbers. “This was my 5th trip to France.” “That is more than twice his salary.” “This is the fourth championship in this decade.”

This wins the thread IMHO.

You could peg me by counting the number of times I use “earlier” instead of writing “ago.”

“Long ago, ASGuy lost the ability to use the word ago. This is because years earlier he read that word too often in Sue Grafton novels.”

Short sentences. Relatively speaking, shorter paragraphs. (When I move away from that, it tends to be because of lots of parentheticals.)

I have a few weird habitual misspellings, but I can’t think of any offhand.

Paragraph-long sentences, use of archaic words (oft, betwixt), sometimes throwing in foreign words and phrases like, oh, je ne sais quoi. Self-referential snark. And sentences that would get me marked down in 7th grade English for not having subjects and verbs.

  • Too many semicolons and nested parentheses

  • Overuse of puns and word games

  • When I know I’m right, rampant assholism

  • Overuse of bulleted lists :slight_smile:

Pithy bursts of brilliance followed by long stretches that read like a high school freshman trying to pad a term paper.

Greg always refers to himself in the third person. That might make it hard to remain anonymous, muses Greg.

For over 40 years I’ve spelled words the way most of the English-speaking world spells them, rather than how they’re spelled in the U.S. (More than 40 years if you count ‘litre’, which I learned from the side of my dad’s Ford Galaxie 500.) After four semesters of German, I tend to capitalise words that are not generally capitalised in English. I seem to use semicolons more frequently than many people, and more commas as well. And I have a habit of establishing context to lessen the odds of being misunderstood. (That doesn’t work as well as I’d like.)

My exquisite composition and Latinate grammar.

My tendency to use contrasting style and tempo for emphasis. One sentence will be full of erudite discursive flourishes with flights of colorful metaphors and similes (parenthetical interruptions) and overuses of conjunctions, the next - blunt vernacular.

The passive voice may also be used.

Just kind of non-specific, monkey-ass quality of my prose.

I separate phrases with dashes all too often - it’s definitely one of my tics.