By usus scribendi, lit. “way of writing”, is usually meant the set of linguistic, stylistic and rhetorical features that can be said to characterise the way of writing of a specific author / redactor, or that can be attributed to either the genre or the period to which the work belongs.

The criterion of usus scribendi, as well as that of lectio difficilior, is applied by the scholar in order to choose between two or more variants bearing the same stemmatic value, i.e. when no “mechanical” reconstruction happens to be possible or safely applicable, and the editor’s choice is governed only by internal judgement. Usus scribendi pertains to that phase of the emendatio process which goes under the name of selectio (the other two being divinatio and combinatio).


– Stussi, Alfredo. 1985. La critica del testo. Bologna: il Mulino. || See p. 14.

In other languages

Latin term used throughout.


  • No labels