From “Melanie Speaks!”, an audio guide for transsexuals on developing a female voice, by Melanie Anne Phillips:
One of the dead giveaways that you’re masculine is the wrong vocabulary. One word that men use more than women is “want”. Men want. Women don’t “want” things, they “like” things. They “would like” things. A guy will go up to the little speaker box at a fast food restaurant and say, “I want a Big Mac,” whereas a woman will say, “I’d like a small salad please.”
Men have power in our society. They are in control. Women are still generally brought up believing that they have less power and less control over their own lives. So when a man says he “needs” to do something, he means “I have a goal, a purpose. It is a requirement.” While a man “needs” to do something, a woman feels that she “should” do something. Because a woman has a tendency to feel that she’s not in control of achieving goals. She may not even be able to set the goals in her life, and therefore if she wants something to happen, she “should” do it. It has more of a sense of obligation than a sense of instigation, and that is a very big difference in the mental attitudes of men and women.
Women can have moods, but they can’t have opinions. For example, whereas a man would say, “I’m going to do this,” a woman would say, “I was thinking that I ought to do this,” meaning “I’m inclined to, but if you have any objections I’ll reconsider.”
Now, this is anathema to feminism, but this is not about how to break stereotypes, it’s about how to become one. For feminizing your voice, stay away from those assertive words and go with the “kinda-sorta” words, and words that don’t have command value to them, and you will find that your voice will be considered a lot more feminine.
Found in Harper’s.