Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 4 weeks ago

why can't I use "said"?

teachers say im not allowed to use said in writing. I tried to not use it, but the writing ended up looking really weird ("she softly uttered, he vocalized, she verbalized, he pronounced"). Am I being unreasonable? How do I follow the rules without looking stupid? 

10 Answers

  • Speed
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    You replace "said" with an action.

    "What do you mean?" Anonymous scratched her head.

    "Have the character do something besides say words." Speed tried to look more like a helpful person than a teacher who gives vague orders without useful instructions.

    "Oh, like this?" Anonymous wrote a sentence in which, instead of a dialog tag, the character who spoke got onto a bicycle and rode away.

    "Exactly." Speed was pleased Anonymous understood so quickly. "Although that conversation is going to be over, right?"

    I'm a pro writer. You literally cannot overuse the word "said." It becomes as invisible as "the" to the reader. Not that you should never use asked, announced, whispered, and so on, but that you don't *want* to eliminate every use of said.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Was this in connection with a specific exercise? Because yes, this goes against standard writing advice.

    If this is for an assignment, do as your teacher requests. Maybe it's an exercise in writing as many different tags as possible? Don't worry about looking stupid, just focus on acing it.

    Of course if this is something your teacher will never see, then by all means use said, leave out dialogue tags when they aren't needed, work on writing great beats, and keep down the number of cried, muttered, mumbled, yelled, hollered etc.

  • I don't see anything wrong with saying "said" in writing. But you can also use words like "replied" or you can say "I told her" or you can use "explained". 

  • 4 weeks ago

    Your teacher doesn't care whether you think you look stupid. They care whether you've followed the rules.

    Professional writers use "said" for pretty much every dialogue tag, because it's invisible. A "fancy" dialogue tag like "averred" or "asseverated" draws attention to itself, away from the dialogue. If you choose to use one of them, then it probably means the dialogue is weak (in the sense of not moving the plot forward or developing the characters), and you should make the dialogue stronger, so that you can feel (more) confident about using "said".

    But writing good dialogue is (presumably) not the object of this exercise. The object is (presumably) to figure out how big your vocabulary is, or whether you know how to use a thesaurus.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • The point your teach is trying to make is that "said" is bland emotionless

    Using other words reveals the mood and emotions of the character

    she said " I like Blue"

    " I like blue" she uttered coyly

  • Ludwig
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Your teachers are not much good.   Try looking at some books containing dialogue, and see how other authors do it.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    It is in your own eyes.

    Denied words, is a test of your ability to use synonyms.

    A test of your ability to find and understand alternate words, to increase your lexicon.

    An ability useful for otherwise plagiarizing future educational papers.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Re. your last sentence, there - why not do both? Follow the rules AND look stupid. It's easy if you try.

  • 4 weeks ago

    "That's a puzzle," I answered.  "But I think I see where your teach is going," I mused.  "She wants you to avoid the trite 'said' that shows up too often in amateurish writing," I offered.

    "OK?" I asked.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    "Teachers don't say that. One teacher may have said that as part of an exercise to try and get you to expand your vocabulary," responded Ben. "So go ahead and use 'said.' Just make sure you're not missing a chance to use a verb that more clearly and concisely communicates the action than using an adverb with 'said'."

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.