Battles with the word “said”

Many writers love the word “said.” They use it for every dialogue tag they can. But writers can overuse “said.”

Reading “said” gives the reader nothing about the story. But there are other words that expand it, letting the reader know more about the characters and plot. These other dialogue tags include:

  • Announced
  • Boasted
  • Commented
  • Declared
  • Exclaimed
  • Explained
  • Remarked
  • Replied
  • Shouted
  • Stated
  • Teased
  • Whispered
  • Yelled

There’s much more power in “‘I hid the body,’ he whispered” or “‘I hid the body,’ he boasted” than “‘I hid the body,’ he said”.

Writers can overuse these “power” words though. Make sure to not use the same dialogue tags over and over. You can use “said” every once in a while as well.

There’s always a battle between using “said” too much or not enough at all. It all comes down to personal preference. If you feel “said” is too much, it’s time for a switch-a-roo with dialogue tags.

2 thoughts on “Battles with the word “said”

  1. I use said mostly. Readers are almost blind to it, and although I find there are occasionally times that I need more than ‘said’ I always question myself. Like adverbs, using anything but ‘said’ can sound clumsy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see what you mean about it sounding clumsy. Most readers, who just read and don’t write on the side, don’t notice “said” as much. But “said” is like a word they skip over and don’t read at all. I’d rather put a word that has an impact sometimes rather than always writing a word they skip. But yeah, if you use other dialogue tags too much (especially unfamiliar ones), it can sound super clumsy.


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