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

Unsure

  • 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!
    -LizzyCupcake!

  • 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.
    ~RoseAngelz

  • 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.
    Reported.

  • 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 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.

  • Maybe meowed? I know that’s what cats do, and even if you aren’t writing about cats, maybe a person is mimicking one of the cute little felines?

  • I am doing my school work and it helped so much I got eight lines of speech with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I wish you could replace my editor. I’m a new author and my editor just tells me what’s wrong without helping me fix it. I’m glad I found this website.

  • I love making stories! I’m trying to make one for school, but I was so stuck on what to say instead of said THIS RLLY HELPS

  • This really helps make stories more interesting then if you just say said. When you use a little imagination or you find words (like the ones above) to use in your story it really makes a world of difference.

  • this was very helpful lol. my sister read my narrative and she was like “dude ur in 6th grade i expected more” and i was like “bruh shut up i wanna see u do better” lol

  • I am writing a narrative and this list helps me so much! I love all the words that you can choose from! Overall, so helpful!

  • Thank you very much! Our school wanted us to write a story and I absolutely love writing stories but I got a little annoyed when I kept using the word ‘said’ again and again. Just like ‘very’ is used pretty often. These words express emotion into the sentence and make the sentence more longer which for me is a good thing. I really appreciate your help. Thank you so much once again.
    ~Asuna

  • I have been writing a book since I was eight years old, and I am now about to turn 14 years old. Many of the chapters were discarded, as I did not like the word choices. I tried using things like thesaurus, and many others, but none worked and none gave me the help I needed personally when trying to use words. What I recommend is opening a google doc (I know that’s what we’re all using, and we learned about it from school), and copying and pasting the words. Of course, label them saying “this is for angry scenes” or something of that sort, but that’s what helps me so I can quickly find a word I’m looking for and I don’t have to scroll past all the passages. Also, it’s much more organized! Happy writing!

    Angelic Devil

  • I’m 10 and I’m writing an article about food and this really helped. Thx a lot. Also, Said is the worst word you can use for said. XD

  • This has been SO helpful! I am writing my own little short story in my (little) free time and I have been struggling to find more descriptive words other than the common ones. This website is pretty much a miracle to any other writer out there!
    I will say, sometimes when I use the word “said” I like to add a bit of flavor to it, like instead of
    Brooke said
    You can put more discription onto it like
    Brooke said, a grin spreading across her face.
    Anyways this was sooo helpful thank you for this amazing site!

  • Bruh…
    all of these comments make you guys seem like newbie writers (no offense) because it’s really easy to think of words instead of said without searching up websites. And SAID IS NOT BORING. Writing too many complex words, or getting TOO descriptive, will make your writing seem immature and cringy. Just saying. SAID IS A GOOD WORD. it’s classic, and it should be used the most, but just use words like yelled, whispered, etc. to show readers HOW that character said that line of dialogue. You don’t need to go out of your way using the word “expostualted” when you literally can just simply use the word “said”. It’s simple and smart. Period.

    • Yea, and? To get good at writing, you need to know what words to use. It’s how everybody starts, and nobody should take offense to that. And no, it is not necessarily that easy to just think of words. Writing with “too many” complex words is good, gives the characters tone, and emotions. It makes the characters feel real. We have complex words in our dictionary for a reason, to explain complex feelings. Also, said is not classic. It’s a word, just a simple word. It doesn’t explain much at all. Simpler words should be used, but that doesn’t mean we need to overuse them. Finding more complex words helps make your story not sound dry and boring. It is not simple and smart, it sounds blatantly stupid, and honestly, you sound like a person who doesn’t know much about writing. Thank you.

  • I am writing a science fiction story and this list helped so much to make my story interesting! LOVE IT! THANKS FOR POSTING IT! – Some 6th grader.

  • Ahaha this is amazing I’m making my own story & there was dialog so I had to find words that are not said this is amazing tbh

  • I’m writing a story right now about a girl who keeps having nightmares about her past self a.k.a what she’s done in the past only to find out those nightmares are real, and these really worked! Because I have lots of characters in the story and I can’t keep saying said or say

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