Language style affects long-term relationship strength and the compatibility of existing and would-be couples, suggests a new study.
Led by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, the study - featured in the journal Psychological Science - advances our understanding of how language influences romance.
The group compared people's use of "function words," which rarely carry any meaning on their own, but help build context in conversations.
Content words, such as nouns, adjectives and verbs, carry an explicit meaning. Function words, on the other hand, vary in their use and help provide reference points in conversations. For instance, words like "the," "that" and "of" can act as function words.
The researchers conducted two experiments to measure language similarities. One setup involved 40 speed dating sessions among college students, where duos' conversations were recorded and transcribed for analysis. The study's authors found that people who used function words similarly were more likely to express romantic interest in seeing one another in the future.