Other Words for “Said”

other words for said
Direct speech can be difficult to smoothly navigate when you’re writing, but if you’re writing a novel or short story, dialogue is almost certainly going to happen at some point. When there is a conversation, the most common thing to do is use “said” when a person speaks:

“Are you crazy?” said Mary.

“Some of the time,” said John.

“Well,” said Mary, “I wish you would give me some warning before you do things like that!”

“I’ll try,” said John.

Then Mary leaned in close and said, “Oh shucks! I love you anyway!”

That’s a whole lot of “said” right there, and it gets repetitive pretty fast, doesn’t it? It becomes essential to have alternatives for the word “said” if you want your writing to sound decent. There are several ways this can be done.

Skip the Bits Outside the Quotation Marks Altogether!

If a conversation involves two people (dialogue), your reader will quickly see the two people are talking. That means that you can introduce your speakers, and then continue the conversation without saying who said what on the assumption your reader will be able to work out who is speaking, at least for a few lines.

Describe Actions Before or After the Quotation Marks

For example: “Oh shucks! I love you anyway!” Mary cuddled closer with a sigh.

In our example, we can clearly see Mary was doing the talking. If John says something next, he’ll get a new paragraph to himself, emphasizing the change of speaker. Voila! Conundrum avoided. “Saying” words have been completely skipped, but we still know who was talking.

Use Words Other than “Said”

Depending on context, there are a whole bunch of alternative words for “said” we can choose. Perhaps Mary’s romantic utterance was:

  • Whispered
  • Breathed
  • Murmured
  • Sighed
  • Purred
  • Blurted
  • Gurgled
  • Chuckled
  • Mumbled
  • Warbled
  • Simpered

Her opening, “Are you crazy?” could have been:

  • Asked (a little weak, but there it is)
  • Exclaimed
  • Cried
  • Yelled
  • Squealed
  • Screamed
  • Shrieked
  • Squeaked
  • Shouted
  • Bellowed
  • Roared
  • Snapped
  • Wailed
  • Gasped
  • Laughed
  • Giggled
  • Tittered
  • Complained
  • Objected
  • Protested
  • Sobbed
  • Groaned
  • Grumbled
  • Scolded

What’s interesting is all these words imply mood much better than “said” does. Was Mary objecting to John’s actions in a good-humored, frightened or angry way? Your choice of words can tell your reader what her tone of voice was.

And when she told John she loved him anyway, was she feeling romantic or amused? Did she blurt it out unexpectedly, or was she being coy and flirtatious? How did John feel when he responded to her initial protestation? Was he serious or light-hearted?

Changing Moods

Look at how these words change the mood of the conversation:

“Are you crazy?” sobbed Mary.

“Some of the time,” muttered John.

“Well,” Mary complained, “I wish you would give me some warning before you do things like that!”

“I’ll try,” John promised.

Then Mary leaned in close and murmured, “Oh shucks! I love you anyway!”

You should have gained a sense of how the person speaking felt by the way they said it. Now see how changing the “talking” words can change the entire scene:

“Are you crazy?” giggled Mary.

“Some of the time,” chuckled John.

“Well,” Mary laughed, “I wish you would give me some warning before you do things like that!”

“I’ll try,” John grinned.

Then Mary leaned in close and purred, “Oh shucks! I love you anyway!”

Ok, so it’s not great literature. I’d probably have avoided introducing the speaker from about line 3, reintroducing them if the mood changed, or the conversation started to get too long to follow, but you get the idea. Example one is a lovers’ tiff, while example two is a couple having fun together. That’s a big difference, and “said” just wouldn’t have conveyed that.

List of “Said” Words According to Mood

Angry, Tense

  • Snapped
  • Snarled
  • Growled
  • Barked (lots of doggy words so far)
  • Bellowed (and a moose)
  • Roared (and a lion – this one could also imply triumph)
  • Grumbled
  • Complained
  • Objected
  • Remonstrated
  • Huffed (this one is just mildly exasperated)
  • Nagged
  • Blustered
  • Thundered (and some weather)
  • Screamed
  • Rasped
  • Worried
  • Yelled
  • Screamed
  • Shouted
  • Shrieked
  • Hollered (a bit of volume in these last few!)
  • Seethed
  • Ranted
  • Fumed

Happy, Amused, Positive

  • Laughed
  • Chuckled
  • Giggled
  • Grinned
  • Guffawed
  • Gurgled
  • Joked
  • Quipped
  • Teased
  • Cheered
  • Crowed

Certain, Sure, Confident

  • Declared
  • Asserted
  • Announced
  • Insisted
  • Assured
  • Argued
  • Bragged
  • Boasted
  • Stated
  • Reassured
  • Preached
  • Commented
  • Remarked
  • Confirmed
  • Vowed
  • Promised
  • Observed

Sarcastic, Creepy

  • Leered
  • Sneered
  • Jeered
  • Drawled
  • Taunted
  • Cackled
  • Mocked

Asking or Asking for

  • Begged
  • Pleaded
  • Requested
  • Questioned
  • Queried
  • Probed
  • Asked (of course)
  • Inquired
  • Entreated
  • Cajoled
  • Wheedled


  • Faltered
  • Stammered
  • Stuttered
  • Hesitated
  • Guessed
  • Blurted
  • Trembled
  • Speculated

Tones other than the ones we’ve already covered (especially the loud ones)

  • Whispered
  • Murmured
  • Hissed
  • Trilled
  • Sang
  • Sniffed
  • Snivelled
  • Mewled
  • Moaned
  • Purred
  • Sobbed
  • Groaned
  • Moaned
  • Grunted

And we’re just scratching the surface…here are a few more:

  • Volunteered
  • Lied
  • Interrupted
  • Interjected
  • Exclaimed
  • Remonstrated
  • Finished

And as for “finished,” I realize this list is far from actually being finished. “Said” is all very well, but with so many more expressive words to choose from, you probably don’t need it! Do you have a favorite word to use other than “said” when you write that’s not listed above? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list.

  • Some good words for said are as following: Whispered, cried, screamed, sobbed, screeched, sang, giggled. Each one produces a different emotion so each one can work in all different situations!

  • “said” is so boring. It’s like using “very” when describing everything. You can make your stories so much more interesting if you use a little imagination and creativity instead of using “said” all the time.

  • Maybe you should put In read, like for example: “Dear Abby” She read.
    If you don’t think so, then thats okey!

  • You said make a novel on how to better express dialouge, or on how to better express one’s writing.

  • I think You should make a novel on how to better express dialogue, or on how to better express one’s self in writing. ~RoseAngelz

  • Sorry I know this is the third time, I’m commenting on this; however this time I’m not a guest. Plus I’m not sure if you got my comment the first two times – no I’m not trying to spam – so I’m gonna comment this one last time.
    I think you should make a novel on how to better express dialogue, or on how to better express one’s writing.
    Again I’m not trying to spam; it’s just that I’m not sure if you got my comment the first two times.

    • exactly like “YAY” Mia said jumping up and down with excitement!
      although doing that makes your story longer.

  • None of these would be a synonym for “said” per se, but all could be used in it’s place given the correct context.
    Retorted, responded, replied, shot back, countered.
    Mentioned, noted, suggested.
    Warned, cautioned, advised, admonished, corrected.

  • In my English class we have a board with ”Said is dead” and we have to write different words for ”said”, if we do we get a prize so I study different words at home lol

  • I want to be a writer, but one of my cons is definitely finding proper words to use instead of “says” or “said”. This has helped me a lot, so thank you very much!

  • I’m 14 and I’m writing a book. I haven’t gone to school to do this kind of stuff, but this was really helpful. Now maybe I can get my book published!

    • I’m only 11 and writing a book and it’s turning out great! Getting published is my dream, and this site has been really helpful!

  • I LOVE this it helps me with work so much
    whoever did this should so get an award as a “thank u 4 all these awesome words!!”

  • This website helped me with my narrative writing!
    Also who is the person/people who keep going around and disliking every single comment? It is just annoying.

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