The phenomenological features of 35 obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) patients with a lifetime history of tics were compared to 35 age- and sex-matched OCD patients without tics. Seven categories of obsessions and nine categories of compulsions were determined using the symptom checklist of the Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). Discriminant function analysis revealed that, compared to their counterparts without tics, OCD patients with tics had more touching, tapping, rubbing, blinking and staring rituals, and fewer cleaning rituals, but did not differ on obsessions. These preliminary findings suggest that the types of compulsions present may help to discriminate between two putative subgroups of OCD, i.e. those with and without tics.