Other Words for "Said" - Owlcation - Education
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Other Words for "Said"

Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

other-words-for-said

Why Otner Words for Said?

Of course, using "he said" and "she said" is the easiest way to explain who is talking or who you are quoting. However, when you use "said" over and over it makes your writing boring and repetitive. Using other words for said not only makes you sound more professional, but it can also help you add commentary by letting you put in negatives (yelled, derided, sarcastically implied), positives (complemented, effectively explains, carefully details), or details about the meaning of what was said (repetitively emphasizes, completely refutes, absolutely rebuts). In the examples, you might notice that I'm also using adverbs (ly words) for emphasis. I give a list of those below too!

How to Write Dialogue

Using other words for said is important when writing dialogue or conversation, whether it is an essay, a novel, a play, or a short story. Alternative verbs for said can help you:

  • Convey emotion
  • Present character more clearly
  • Explain the relationship between the people speaking

Using the list below can help you actually think through the emotions that your character is feeling. I've grouped them according to types of emotions.

Dialogue Words

angry wordsquestion wordssaid (neutral)sad or upsethappy

argued

asked

commented

quavered

giggled

bellowed

questioned

added

stammered

greated

jeered

answered

pointed out

sniffled

smiled

accused

proposed

spoke

wailed

trilled

hissed

queried

observed

wept

marveled

threatened

responded

noted

whimpered

joked

scolded

retorted

went on

whined

laughed

yelled

objected

told

worried

congratulated

screamed

disagreed

mentioned

shrieked

bubbled

stormed

hypothesized

put in

sobbed

chatted

Friends reply, empathize, agree

Choose words for said that convey age and emotion.

Choose words for said that convey age and emotion.

Conflict Words for Said

meanfrightenedsympathizedguilty/sorry

demanded

impored

comforted

admitted

mimicked

trembled

consoled

apologized

ordered

quivered

empathized

pledged

dictated

pleaded

affirmed

promised

sneered

quaked

soothed

swore

mocked

begged

cheered

revealed

screamed

shuttered

purred

sighed

taunted

whispered

urged

confessed

threatened

wailed

related

confided

criticized

cried

offered

explained

swore

prayed

cajoled

lamented

Adverbs to Use with "Said" Words

Adverbs describe or explain the type of action of verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Additionally, you can use more than one adverb for emphasis: "Mrs. Ramsey calmly and patiently explained, "Remember adverbs usually, but not always, end in 'ly'."

neutral adverbsnegative adverbspositive adverbs

absentmindedly

shyly

knowingly

nervously

fervently

proudly

shyly

nervously

fervently

Urgently

rudely

carefully

sheepishly

defiantly

sympathetically

mysteriously

wrongly

cheerfully

cautiously

judgementally

enthusiastically

decidedly

jealously

cleverly

frankly

overconfidently

generously

honestly

sharply

deliberately

powerfully

sternly

helpfully

utterly

suspiciously

truthfully

repeatedly

uselessly

wisely

partially

poorly

thoroughly

Research and Author Tags

When citing research, you need to include the name of the author and the title of the article or book you are using.

Example: According to Robert Klass in "Wonderful Lives of Ants," the ant world is much more like a human society than most of us realize (Klass 45).

Long Paraphrases or Summaries. Many times, you might be paraphrasing or summarizing a source for more than just one sentence. To show the reader that you are continuing to give ideas from that source, you need to use author tags, which means you use the last name of the author and then a verb like "said."

example: Klass says that fire ants have a particularly interesting way of working together to survive a flood. The author describes the situation of an individual fire ant drowning when swept into the water. However, he notes, when the ants link together in a large mass, they can float for days without drowning.

Author Tags and Nouns: For the most professional sounding citations, you need to use alternative words for the name of the author as well as for said as the above example shows. See my chart for a list of good author last name substitutes.

Verb tense: Usually, you will use the present tense of the word for talking about a summary, quotation or paraphrase.

Author Tags List of "Said" Words

Many of the words used for dialogue can also be used for author tags. The important thing to remember is that you can let your reader know how you feel about this evidence, or how this evidence relates to other quotes you are using by the word you u

adding todisagreeing withpositivenegativeneutral

agrees

disagrees

says

complains

says

concurs

refutes

affirms

conceeds

comments

supports

objects

acknowleges

confesses

hints

adds

retorts

pleads

insists

mentions

repeats

taunts

suggests

objects

notes

explains

replies

orders

cautions

offers

maintains

questions

teases

claims

observes

Alternatives for "Author"

the authorhe/she/theythe article

the writer

the reporter

the research

the researcher

the essayist

the book

the scientist

the journalist

the evidence

the doctor

the narrator

the source

the columnist

the contributer

the piece

Using author tags helps your reader know where you got your ideas.

Using author tags helps your reader know where you got your ideas.

How this Makes Writing More Effective

Choosing the right "Said" word can help you put your evaluation of the source into your paper more easily, and show how this source helps present your own ideas. For example, if the source supports you, you can say:

  • John Rayburn concurs with...
  • Silvia Rath agrees....
  • Joshua Reynolds supports the idea that

If the author presents an opposing view, you can make this clear by using:

  • John Rayburn disagrees...
  • On the other hand, Silvia Rath argues...
  • Joshua Reynolds refutes the idea that...

If you want to show that a source is authoritative you can use a reference to their expertise after you have introduced them by name:

  • Neil Armstrong disagreed with their findings. After examining the data, this scientist concluded...
  • Bernie Sanders has charted his own way in devising public policy. In spite of what others say, this politician disagrees...
  • Stephan Hawking decided to examine the theory. Knowing the subject thoroughly, this expert draws the conclusion...

Explaining How to Write Conversation

Questions & Answers

Question: We have to do an essay in class to explain a music video using a type of criticism. So I did the song called "Not Your Barbie Girl" by Ava Max. It is about feminism and how woman and girls should be respected in relationships. In this essay assignment, I have to quote her song many times. What are other words for said/states/says when quoting a song?

Answer: Especially because this song has a strong message, it would be appropriate to say things like:

Max argues in her lyrics that...

The songwriter insists...

The song continues to repeat this theme in the chorus...

When the artist repeats "XXX" she is trying to communicate her belief that...

"XXX" means that she thinks...

Comments

Tiny T on January 24, 2020:

I saw this article and am now using some of these words in place of "Said" in my daily conversations. I am constantly impressing my family, friends, and teachers.

GILDER on October 27, 2017:

all i can say is 'AMAZING'

Nick V on August 23, 2016:

Variety is very important in structuring a sentence; it makes reading much more enjoyable. I also found it interesting that you mentioned other criteria, such as using 'concurs' or 'agrees' when it comes to certain types of people.

Margaret Baule on August 26, 2015:

Many times, papers and stories can begin to sound and feel repetitive when the author is constantly using the word "said". This is article is great because it shows words that not only replace "said", but in the same word can show a character's emotion or feeling. "Said" is such a daily part of our vocabulary and is often used in writing but using other words provides variety and shows more of a person's mindset. This article is definitely one to reference when writing dialogue or quotes.

BessieBooks on February 17, 2015:

This is really great! Such a useful reference for writers. Thanks virginialyne!

TylerBush on August 27, 2014:

This is a great tool that even I need help sometimes remembering other words to use instead of said.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 31, 2013:

Great resource for virtually every writer from high school student to published author! Thanks!

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 25, 2013:

Thanks Eiddwen and MsDora--I found myself wanting to share this with my own students and to have a reference for myself of the best words to use. Now I just need to get writing!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 25, 2013:

Great reference article. We know that the words on your charts exist, but sometime they just don't come to mind. Thank you for this very helpful presentation.

Eiddwen from Wales on November 25, 2013:

A brilliant hub and thank you for sharing virginialynne. Voting up and saving.

eddy.

Dianna Mendez on November 23, 2013:

I am definitely keeping this in my library for reference. It is such a small word but written in different settings it can make a thought speak volumes.

Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on November 21, 2013:

Thanks so much carter--I did write this for myself as well as other people!

Mary from Cronulla NSW on November 21, 2013:

This is awesome Virginia..I was amazed recently when going through a word repetition edit on one of my manuscripts at how many times I repeated words, one a whole 49 times and of course 'said' came up way too often..really appreciate your clear, informative hubs & will pin on my writing board..Voted def U & A..cheers