Writing different habits and mannerisms are always hard to think of and even harder to remember. I made a list of some speaking quirks in my bullet journal and decided to copy it on here for others to use. After typing it out, however, I realized that what I originally wrote might not make sense to most people, so I added some explanations. Hope it helps!
1. Lots of whining
Self-explanatory. This person whines a lot when they speak.
2. Growls when angry/frustrated
This person has a habit of growling their words when angry or frustrated.
3. Thinking aloud
This person tends to say their thoughts out loud instead of thinking of them in their head.
4. Every other word is a swear word
Curse words range from “crap” to the F-bomb, and this person has a habit of saying all of them at least two dozen times in a sentence.
5. High pitched when excited
6. Using “literally” incorrectly
There are lots of people who tend to use the word “literally” for emphasis. “I literally died when she said that.” The person saying this didn’t actually die, they’re just using it for emphasis.
7. Constantly echoing themselves or others
I have this habit. These people tend to repeat what is said, sometimes by others and sometimes by themselves. For example, if someone asks, “Where are the keys?” the other person will repeat the question first before answering: “Where are the keys? They’re right here.”
8. Idioms galore
“I’m going to be in deep crap tomorrow, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.” Idioms are great and this person realizes that, using them in their speech often.
9. Rambling and going off topic
This is pretty self-explanatory. They start off talking about one thing, but then goes on and on and on about something else.
11. Being overdramatic
Everything is such a big deal and they probably emphasize every other word.
12. The inability to whisper
Self-explanatory. They can’t whisper.
Passive-aggressive: “Oh, that outfit makes you look less fat than usual.”
Aggressively-passive: “That outfit makes you look absolutely amazing and you BETTER FREAKING BELIEVE IT.”
Pet-name: Hun, sweetie, dear, darling, etc.
Nicknames: Prez, Chief, Sunshine, Poopy, etc.
My personal rule: Pet-names are common nouns, nicknames are proper nouns.
15. Sings their words
Self-explanatory. They tend to sing out their words.
16. Likes to use big, complicated, and confusing words
This is a good one for those genius, science-y characters (or those characters who want to appear genius and science-y).
17. Often. Pauses. After. Each. Word.
18. Likes to speak with hands
They tend to act out what they’re saying. For instance, if someone says that they just went jogging, they might fake-run while speaking.
19. Answers sound like a question?
Useful when characters don’t actually know or are guilty of something.
Alternatively, you can use uptalk (which is when all or most of your character’s sentences sound like a question).
20. Speaks in riddles
21. Super polite, even in casual situations
“Hello, how are you? My name is Marilyn. I’ll be on your team today. Now, what are the rules for this ‘B-ball’?”
22. Often quoting something else
“To quote Hamlet, act three, scene three, line eighty-seven, ‘no’.” These characters are often quoting from other books, plays, movies, etc.
I’m going to assume that I don’t need to explain this one.
24. Meaning the opposite of what they say
It’s fine = This is not at all fine
I’m okay = I am nowhere NEAR okay
This is great! = Holy crap, this is awful
25. Using phrases incorrectly
“Don’t count your chickens before they make their bed!” That’s obviously a bit of an extreme, but basically, they often remember certain phrases wrong and use them incorrectly. Nice to pair with number 16.
26. Being overly nice/mean
You know those old people tropes on TV where they’re either super sweet and bake cookies for you every day or absolute demons who shake their cane at you to “get off their lawn”? Yeah, those are my examples for this.
27. Thank You, Captain Obvious
That one person who likes to state the obvious.
28. Lots of bad jokes and puns
29. Mispronounces words
They can’t pronounce some words correctly. Good for kids or people who spend more time reading than anything else.
Self-explanatory. The character speaks with a lisp.
31. Laughing when nervous/embarrassed
32. Often switching from one language to another
Good for bilingual characters.
33. Speech gets faster when excited/stressed
Good to pair with number 5.
34. Brutally honest
When the character’s friend asks them about their new haircut, the character isn’t afraid to tell them that it looks “more like a hat”. They’re not the kind to lie to be nice.
There we go! 34 speaking quirks! Can you think of more that I didn’t add above? If so, let me know in the comments!