The Gender Novels Project

Basic Subject vs Object Pronoun Frequency Analysis

This markdown file contains data from an analysis of feminine and masculine subject pronouns vs object pronouns.

The code used for this analysis can be found in

Two analyses were conducted on this subject. The first compares how often each gender's pronouns were used in the subject within their gender, i.e., what portion of female pronouns are subject pronouns and what portion of male pronouns are subject pronouns. The second analysis compares the frequency of masculine and feminine pronouns in subject pronouns, ie, what portion of subject pronouns are masculine vs feminine.

First Analysis

This analysis first separated the pronouns into masculine and feminine pronouns and compared frequencies within these categories.


These frequencies are the portion of pronouns of a certain gender that are subject pronouns. Thus, on average, approximately 72% of masculine pronouns in a given novel are subject pronouns while approximately 45% of feminine pronouns are subject pronouns.

Male: 0.72

Female: 0.45


The following are averages of the same frequency but binned over author gender, date published, and location.

Female pronouns:

The following are frequencies of female pronouns that are subject pronouns.

By author gender:

Male author: 0.44

Female author: 0.46

By date:

By location:

England: 0.44

United States: 0.45

Other: 0.43

Male Pronouns

By author gender:

Male author: 0.73

Female author: 0.72

By date:

By location:

England: 0.72

US: 0.73

Other: 0.72


We noticed no trends in the binning for this analysis. It did seem notable that about 72% of all male pronouns were subject pronouns while only about 45% of female pronouns were subject pronouns.

Analysis 2

This analysis looked at the percentage of subject pronouns that were male verses female. The following frequencies are the portion of subject pronouns that are female.


Overall: 0.32

Thus, on average, about 32% of the subject pronouns in a given novel were feminine.


By author gender:

Male author: 0.24

Female author: 0.43

By date:

By location:

England: 0.30

US: 0.34

Other: 0.30


For this analysis, we found the overall comparison and the comparison by author gender most noteworthy. We noticed no trends in the date binning, though there is a strange deviancy from the norm in the 1830's. We noticed no trend based on location.

Overall Thoughts

Analysis #1 is probably the most useful of the two. The results observed in analysis #2 are likely due to just the frequency of male vs female pronoun use in general as observed in an earlier analysis (see Pronoun Frequency).