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Author Topic: The Dreaded 'Said'  (Read 20883 times)

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Leia

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The Dreaded 'Said'
« on: 05/29-17:30 »

I found a helpful list for varying up your dialogue tags. I've caught myself staring at the business end of a closed comma, and not being able to get my brain to form anything more creative than 'he said'. I hate using 'said'....there always seems to be a better way, a more expressive way, of portraying intonation, or mood.

So......if it's a problem sometimes for you too, I present ''Over 300 Way to Say Said''. You might not be as linguistically challenged as I am but, if you are...

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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #1 on: 05/29-17:34 »

Now that is a useful list, thank you.
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MissRis

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #2 on: 05/29-19:28 »

So useful!!! God I think I might print this LOL
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123456789

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #3 on: 05/29-21:29 »

Lela,

Glad you brought this up. I am a strong advocate of using "said" most of the time.

I'm going to use an example given from Gary Provost's 'Beyond Style', which emphasizes NOT overusing attritions.
"'
"I''m not afraid of you," I announced.
"Oh," Joel snarled. "What are you going to do, scare me off with a song?"
"Maybe," I shot back.
"Or maybe you're going to hit me with a karate chop," he chided.
"Someday you'll be sorry," I muttered.
"When you least expect it," he threatened...'"

Personally, I find the above passage a little ridiculous and juvenile. At some point in my writing efforts I would have agreed with you, and this argument I'm presenting now is the sort of thing that makes me pick up a book at random to see how real authors are doing it. Lo and behold, when they are indicating who said what, which is less often than you might think, its usually with 'said.'

Sometimes you want to emphasize dialogue with a stronger word, and that's fine. But if you do it too much, you rob the dialogue itself of its meaning.

More often then not, a reader can get how the character is saying something based on what they're saying.

"I love you" or "I hate you" shouldn't normally need anything else for full effect.
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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #4 on: 05/29-23:47 »

The "I shot back", "I muttered", "he threatened" fit and sort of worked ok but the others didn't. I'm don't like short "he said", "He muttered" regardless of what words you use. Things need to fit context and maintain flow. I prefer to provide more of a description as to what is going on and any emotions being displayed.

"Maybe" I shot back, a little too quickly, and wishing this wasn't happening.
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123456789

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #5 on: 05/30-02:36 »

Personally I prefer something similar. Rather than indicating the speaker by saying who "said" what, I might describe how the speaker is acting, which may or may not include how is speaking. Regarding your example, I'd probably saying something like:

"Maybe." I spoke hurriedly, wishing the conversation would just end.
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Leia

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #6 on: 05/30-09:09 »

I prefer a mix myself, and it wasn't my intention to suggest that one go off the deep-end and attempt to pepper every single dialogue tag with florid words. However, in my experience as both a writer and a reader, whenever there is mood, or nuances you want to convey, 'said' falls flat a lot of the time. Digits, in your example, replacing all of the verbs in the dialogue tags with 'said' makes it even worse...so it's really more of an illustration on overusing dialogue tags in general.

Dialogue tags should be varied, omitted if possible, and the feeling portrayed through the speaker's action, in my opinion.

This list is meant for someone who is in need of simply replacing 'said' with a word that better portrays the speakers exact mood....not someone wishing to wax intellectual, and show off how many synonyms they know. That, I agree, is one of the many hallmarks of juvenile writing.
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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #7 on: 05/30-09:20 »

No argument with that here. It's hard enough to draw a picture of characters and what is happening between them, naturally. To throw away one of the best opportunities as part of the natural dialogue of the story, is just a waste.
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Former Member

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #8 on: 05/30-09:23 »

Leia, I bookmarked this 'said' page.  As you know, I have characters talking, screaming, dizzy from booze, and clueless.  Yikes, I'm running out of "said" stuff.

I have lots of re-writes ahead of me.  No doubt I will use page.
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Leia

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #9 on: 05/30-09:37 »

Good. I'm glad it's a help. I've found myself going back to it quite a bit. It's helped pimp slap my brain back into submission a few times.
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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #10 on: 06/24-02:19 »

I grabbed them all, got rid of the duplicates and put them in a list. What I may do when I have more time is put them in a table.


abjured ~ renounced - repudiated
accused ~ charged - indicted - blamed
acknowledged ~ accepted - admitted - conceded - affirmed
added ~ put in - included - appended
addressed ~ tackled - spoke to - dealt with
admitted ~ accepted - acknowledged - conceded - affirmed - confirmed
admonished ~ warned - cautioned - reproved - scolded - reproached
advised ~ informed - notified - made aware - let know - counseled
advocated ~ backed - encouraged - promoted - championed
affirmed ~ acknowledged - admitted - conceded - confirmed
agreed ~ consented - acceded - assented - concurred
alleged ~ claimed - asserted - contended - declared
allowed ~ permitted - consented to - tolerated
alluded ~ hinted - intimated - suggested
announced ~ declared - proclaimed - heralded
answered ~ responded - replied - retorted - countered - rejoined
apologized ~ defended - explained - rationalized
appealed ~ pleaded - requested - lobbied - implored - beseeched
appeased ~ placated - mollified
approved ~ accepted - agreed - recognized - sanctioned - authorized
argued ~ disputed - debated - refuted - took issue
articulated ~ made clear - communicated
asked ~ inquired - queried - questioned - quizzed
assented ~ agreed - consented - concurred - accepted
asserted ~ maintained - declared - interjected - asseverated
asseverated ~ affirmed - agreed - conceded - confirmed
assumed ~ supposed - postulated - expected
assured ~ guaranteed - placated
attested ~ certified - authenticated - vouched for
averted ~ Avoided - deflected - dodged
avouched ~ certified - authenticated - attested to
avowed ~ affirmed confirmed declared - acknowledged
babbled ~ blathered - chattered - prattled - rambled
baited ~ teased - taunted - mocked
bantered ~ kidded - joshed - quipped
bargained ~ dickered - negotiated - talked terms
barked ~ yelled - yelped - roared
bawled ~ bellowed - screeched - shrieked
beckoned ~ coaxed - summoned - invited
began ~ launched - started - instigated
begged ~ pleaded - implored - beseeched
believed ~ considered - supposed - deemed
belittled ~ demeaned - disparaged - derided
bellowed ~ roared - yelled - hollered
berated ~ rebuked - criticized - scolded
beseeched ~ begged - pleaded - implored
besought ~ petitioned - pleaded - implored - requested
blabbed ~ gossiped - tattled - told
bleated ~ moaned - whined - griped - bellyached - fussed
blurted ~ cried - uttered - divulged - revealed
bragged ~ boasted - crowed
breathed ~ gasped - whispered - exhaled - murmured
bullied ~ intimidated - coerced
called ~ summoned - shouted - beckoned - cried out
caterwauled ~ screamed - screeched - shrieked - wailed
chastised ~ lambasted - berated - chewed out - reamed
cheered ~ applauded - celebrated - exalted - extolled - hailed
chirped ~ called out - chipped in - sung out - sounded off - piped up
chimed in ~ called out - interrupted - interjected - spoke up - piped up
chuckled ~ cackled - chortled - snickered - tee-heed - tittered
claimed ~ asserted - alleged - argued - insisted - maintained
clarified ~ elucidated - made clear - explained
clucked ~ chortled - cackled - fussed - tut tutted
coaxed ~ cajoled - persuaded - sweet-talked - enticed
commanded ~ ordered - directed - instructed - decreed
commented ~ remarked - noted - observed - mentioned
complained ~ protested - grumbled - whined - objected
conceded ~ admitted - granted - ceded - accepted
confessed ~ admitted - acknowledged - affirmed - professed
continued ~ resumed - persisted - carried on
countered ~ opposed - answered - disagreed - dissented
counseled ~ advised - recommended - advocated
crabbed ~ bitched - bemoaned - cried - complained
cried ~ bawled - weeped - whined - whimpered - wailed
croaked ~ grumbled - growled - muttered - spluttered - mumbled
crooned ~ intoned - chanted - uttered
crowed ~ gloated - boasted - proclaimed
declared ~ affirmed - asserted - stated
demanded ~ insisted - required - commanded
disagreed ~ contradicted - dissented - disputed
discussed ~ debated - deliberated - bandied - thrashed out - mulled over
disrupted ~ interrupted upset - intervened
divulged ~ revealed disclosed - let slip
drawled ~ intoned - enunciated - spoke deliberately
droned ~ rattled off - whined pointlessly
echoed ~ mirrored - parroted - reflected - rubber stamped
elaborated ~ amplified upon - explained - expanded upon
elucidated ~ opined - interjected - interposed - expounded
emphasized ~ stressed - highlighted - pointed out - spotlighted
enjoined ~ ordered - commanded - directed - instructed
enjoyed ~ basked - relished - savored - wallowed
entreated ~ pestered - implored - urged - petitioned
enumerated ~ detailed - listed - designated - counted
enunciated ~ pronounced - articulated - spoke carefully
equivocated ~ dodged - quibbled - prevaricated - evaded
estimated ~ approximated - guessed at - supposed - surmised
exaggerated ~ sensationalized - inflated - aggrandized - inflated
exclaimed ~ shouted - yelled - asserted - declared
exhorted ~ admonished - prodded - goaded - entreated
expatiated ~ elaborated - expounded - developed - amplified
explained ~ clarified - illustrated - outlined - laid out
exploded ~ blew up - erupted - burst out - went off
expostulated ~ reasoned with - argued - dissuaded
expounded ~ illustrated - elaborated - amplified upon
expressed ~ communicated - disclosed - divulged - presented
extended ~ offered - advanced - bestowed - imparted
extolled ~ applauded - celebrated - lauded - bragged about
faltered ~ stumbled - stuttered - hesitated - staggered
fibbed ~ lied - misled - fabricated - falsified
finished ~ ended - completed - finalized
foretold ~ predicted - forecast - heralded - divined - discerned
fretted ~ worried - agonized - brooded - anguished
fumed ~ burned - chafed - bristled - simmered
fussed ~ fretted - fiddled - fidgeted - worried
gabbed ~ gossiped - yakked -  babbled - prattled
gagged ~ choked - heaved - sputtered
granted ~ allowed - agreed - affirmed - acceded - conceded
gasped ~ inhaled - gupled - choked - snorted
greeted ~ recognized - welcomed - received - helloed
giggled ~ laughed - chuckled - snickered - tittered
glowered ~ glared - stared - scowled - frowned
gossiped ~ chatted - talked
grinned ~ smiled - smirked - beamed
groaned ~ moaned - whimpered - grunted - grumbled
groveled ~ pleaded -begged - squirmed
growled ~ barked - howled - snarled - roared
grumbled ~ bemoaned - complained -gripped - bitched
grunted ~ grumbled - moaned - mumbled - murmured
guaranteed ~ assured - pledged - promised
guessed ~ speculated - estimated - supposed
guffawed ~ chortled - laughed - chuckled
gulped ~ swallowed - choked
gurgled ~ burbled - gushed
gushed ~ spurted - burbled - flattered - cooed
haggled ~ dickered - bargained -quibbled - wrangled
harangued ~ scolded - berated - ranted
harped ~ nagged - reiterated  - dwell upon endlessly
hastened to add ~ added quickly - rushed on
hastened to say ~ said quickly - interrupted
hedged ~ eluded - sidestepped - equivocated - fudged
held ~ postulated - argued - believed - insisted
hemmed and hawed~ hesitated - vacillated - wavered
hesitated ~ vacillated - wavered - dithered - flatered
hinted ~ suggested - alluded - implied - insinuated - intimated
hissed ~ shushed - jeered - whispered
hollered ~ yelled - howled -screamed - shouted
hooted ~ whooped - roared - yelled - honked
howled ~ yelled - hollered -shouted - screamed
huffed ~ panted - puffed - gasped - sulked
imitated ~ aped - copied - emulated - parodied
imparted ~ conveyed - related - informed - communicated
implied ~ hinted - indicated - inferred - insinuated - intimated - suggested
implored ~ appealed - begged - beseeched - pleaded - urged
imported ~ conveyed - signified
indicated ~ denoted - designated - suggested
inferred ~ hinted - implied - intimated - suggested - alluded - insinuated
informed ~ advised - apprised - blabbed - briefed - enlightened - forewarned - notified - updated - told
inquired ~ queried - asked - questioned
insinuated ~ hinted - indicated - inferred - implied - intimated - suggested
insisted ~ asserted - claimed - demanded - maintained - pressed
instructed ~ ordered - directed - mandated - tasked
insulted ~ dissed - maligned - smeared
interjected ~ inserted - interposed - put in - squeezed in
interposed ~ inserted - interjected - put in - squeezed in
interpreted ~ translated - understood it
interrogated ~ questioned - cross-examined
interrupted ~ cut-in - interjected
intimated ~ implied - alluded - inferred - hinted - suggested - insinuated
intimidated ~ bullied - coerced
intoned ~ recited - chanted - crooned - articulated
introduced ~ presented - acquainted - brought up
itemized ~ listed - detailed - enumerated
jabbered ~ blathered - rambled - rattled on
jeered ~ ridiculed - scoffed - taunted - cracked - derided - mocked
jested ~ joked - kidded - joshed
joked ~ jested - kidded - joshed
joshed ~ jested - kidded - joked
judged ~ determined - considered - deduced - decided - concluded
lamented ~ moaned - fretted - reflected - speculated - brooded
laughed ~ giggled - snickered - chuckled
lectured ~ expounded - harangued - berated - gave a stiff talking to
lied ~ fibbed - misinformed
listed ~ catalogued - tallied - enumerated
made known ~ revealed - disclosed - divulge - let slip
magnified ~ embellished - exaggerated - amplified
maintained ~ supported - argued - defended
marveled ~ amazed - overwhelmed - aghast
mentioned ~ cited - brought up - pointed out
mimicked ~ imitated - aped
moaned ~ groaned - whimpered
mocked ~ derided - ridiculed
mouthed ~ voiced silently
mumbled ~ muttered - murmured
murmured ~ muttered - mumbled
mused ~ pondered - contemplated - reflected
muttered ~ murmured - mumbled
nagged ~ badgered - hounded - pestered -  tormented - needled
narrated ~ chronicled - recited - recounted - related
nodded ~ acknowledged - assented - concurred - indicated - recognized - signaled
noted ~ observed - mentioned - remarked
notified ~ informed - advised - alerted - disclosed - revealed - tipped off
objected ~ balked - opposed - protested - challenged - disputed - dissented
observed ~ noted - mentioned - remarked
oozed ~ dribbled - seeped - trickled - dripped - flowed
opined ~ elucidated - interjected - interposed - expounded
ordered ~ directed - instructed - mandated - tasked
peeped ~ chirped - squeaked - uttered
persuaded ~ cajoled - coaxed - sweet-talked - enticed
pestered ~ badgered - hounded - nagged -  tormented - needled
pleaded ~ appealed - beseeched - implored - lobbied - requested
pondered ~ contemplated - mused - reflected
posed ~ presented
pouted ~ glowered - sulked
praised ~ applauded - complimented - lauded 
prattled on ~ babbled - blathered - chattered - rambled
prayed ~ pleaded - begged - implored
preached ~ advocated - exhorted - lectured - urged
predicted ~ foretold - forecast - prognosticate - prophesied
pressed ~ asserted - claimed - demanded - insisted -  maintained
prevaricated ~ evaded - dithered - stalled
pried ~ pried - interrogated - dug
proceeded ~ continued - carried on - went on
proclaimed ~ asserted - certified - expressed - pronounced
prodded ~ goaded - spurred on - urged
professed ~ admitted - affirmed - claimed - declared
promised ~ assured - guaranteed - pledged
prompted ~ coaxed - urged - elicited - cajoled
pronounced ~ asserted - proclaimed - expressed - certified
proposed ~ suggested - recommended - offered - put forward - submitted
protested ~ complained - grumbled - whined - objected
purred ~ cooed - murmured softly - whispered sweet nothings
queried ~ inquired - asked - questioned - quizzed
questioned ~ inquired - queried - asked - quizzed
quibbled ~ bickered - squabbled - sidestepped -  evaded
quipped ~ joked - cracked - remarked -  added
raged ~ fumed - thundered - seethed - spit venomously - riled -ranted
riled ~ fumed - thundered - seethed - spit venomously - raged - Ranted
rambled ~ jabbered - prevaricated - blathered - digressed
ranted ~ declaimed - spouted - blustered - decried
rattled off ~ droned on - listed
raved ~ talking wildly - responded enthusiastically - spoke admiringly
reasoned ~ thought out - considered carefully - explained thoughtfully
rebuffed ~ rejected - refused - snubbed - spurned - declined
recalled ~ remembered - recollected - called to mind
recited ~ listed - itemized - detailed - enumerated
reckoned ~ considered - supposed - deemed - surmised
recommended ~      
reconciled ~      
recorded ~      
recounted ~      
recriminated ~      
referred ~      
refused ~      
reiterated ~      
related ~      
remarked ~      
repeated ~      
replied ~      
reported ~      
requested ~      
responded ~      
retorted ~      
roared ~      
sang ~      
scolded ~      
screamed ~      
screeched ~      
shrieked ~      
sighed ~      
slurred ~      
smiled ~      
snapped ~      
snarled ~      
sneered ~      
snipped ~      
sobbed ~      
spat ~      
spouted ~      
sputtered ~      
squawked ~      
stammered ~      
stated ~      
stipulated ~      
suggested ~      
taunted ~      
teased ~ titillated - taunted - tantalized
thought aloud ~      
titillated ~ tantalized - aroused - teased
told ~      
trumpeted ~      
urged ~      
uttered ~      
vocalized ~      
voiced ~      
vowed ~      
wailed ~      
warned ~      
whimpered ~      
whined ~      
whispered ~      
whooped ~      
winked ~      
yelled ~      
yowled ~      
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shylock

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #11 on: 07/26-07:44 »

I can see where this will come in handy. Trying to come up with alternatives for said, can be a real pain in the butt. How often do you add to it?
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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #12 on: 07/27-03:10 »

I can see where this will come in handy. Trying to come up with alternatives for said, can be a real pain in the butt. How often do you add to it?
I add to it when I think about it. Right now I'm focused on tying to get a few chapters done before adding more to the site. But there is still a lot of content on writing you haven't gotten to yet.
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Milly

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #13 on: 09/01-01:48 »

I've actually used this three times today.
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superpsycho

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Re: The Dreaded 'Said'
« Reply #14 on: 05/03-15:38 »

Completed the J's and L's. Though it's been a while I haven't forgotten the good old 'said' table.
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