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

  • Well “said” is a rather valuable word when it is used properly, as you can “build up” emotions onto it

  • 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.

  • All of these words helped me write my story! I wonder what other words we could use instead of said.

  • 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 have to write a story (Thanks Covid) and this has been soooo helpful! Gracias! -unknowable

  • 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.

    • Yes! Exactly, Lauren, have you read Keeper of the Lost Cities? If you haven’t, you really should. Its amazing!

  • 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!

    • Like in the story I’m writing for school about a zombie apocalypse one of my sentences is;
      “Alright let’s move on. My name is James, and I am absolutely useless just so you guys are aware.” He nods at the group with a tight smile on his face as everyone starts laughing.

  • 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.

  • Thanks for this list! I’m 11 and this has been incredibly helpful for writing a historical fiction story for school.

  • 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

    • Honestly Ella, That is a good idea but I won’t steal it! I hope that book gets everything it deserves! I am currently the first like on this! Have a good day. (And I feel you, I forget about some characters and then I have to make up an excuse for bringing them back in.) Also, LETS BRING THIS COMMENT TO THE TOP! Hope you all have a nice day!

  • A few more to intend bragging, or showing off that could be used:
    Boast(ed), Crow(ed), Bluster(ed), Swank(ed), Gloat(ed)
    Just some examples, not saying they should be added, just trying to be useful for anyone who needs more help with words that aren’t on the list. (at least I don’t think they are on the list lol.)

  • I’m almost 13 years old and I want to write a book of wizardry (sort o like Harry Potter). Either way, I’m really thankful for this website and this helps me soooooo much with my writing!!! ‘Said’ is like really boring, so tysm!!!

  • it is better to mostly use said. publishers will riject books that have too much other words instead of said because it is a sign of inexperience! 99% of the time you should use said!

  • I love when actions describe or replace ‘said’! I’m writing a book, so this was extremely helpful.
    one like on this comment = one appreciation for this

  • Thank you i was looking everywhere for different saids and i finnaly found one that shows the emotion that the person is feeling when they say that!

  • Am I the only one that has like 500 books on their computer and each one only has like 60 pages and you only finished like one?

  • This is sooo awesome I’m in middle of a story and i feel like I need to go back and change all my previous saids 😂

  • Though saying “said” can get a little boring, simply replacing them with action words is a no no. Said is really just a dialogue tag, not your chance to get creative or descriptive. If someone “said” something, you can say they “giggled it.” Amateur mistakes 101.

    If you find yourself looking for words to replace said because you’re using it too many times, it’s a sign that you need to go back and restructure your sentences. That’s where you get creative.

    It’s okay to get a big more descriptive than said sometimes, but substitute words is usually not the answer.

  • I actually think this works well XD I had so many “Saids” in my story. It’s 213 pages long so I need to go all over it again to fix all those mistakes XD

  • im writing a story about monsters at the moment i needed so much good word other than “said” and then i found this, this is so helpful, thanks!

  • This is SO helpful! I’m writing a book right now, and I have so many “said”s that I have to go change! (and, LizzyCupcakeAuthor12!, on one of the other posts I read the beginning of your story about the three orphans, and, by now you might have finished it, but it is AMAZING. Never give up writing!)

  • thank you so much! i’m not a native english speaker so i struggle sometimes, but this article helped me so much!

  • I am also writing a story! It´s for a school project I’m doing. It´s about a girl named sage who keeps living the same day over and over again. In order to fix it she has to touch a magic pendelum from an old grandfather clock wich got her into this mess in the first place.

  • i wish i could be as good as enid blython or j.k rowling aka {joanne kathleen rowling} i finished them books im sad

  • This is very helpful. I will be sure to look at their stuff again. I’m trying to write a book for school and this helped tremendously!

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