How often do you get stuck trying to find the correct word that replaces said when writing dialogue?

And how often does this halt the flow of your writing when you’re on a roll?

Yep, I know. Me too. I don’t worry about it so much during the first draft as this is where I just write and get the story down any which way, making a little note or mark beside the ones I want to change later.

Why use an alternative word for said in dialogue? Well, it changes the way we interpret a person  communicating with another, even if just referring to something described earlier. For example, he/she hinted, begged, yelled or whispered, changes the context of what’s being conveyed.

Take care not to overuse the alternatives as a reader can be put off by too many variations over several pages. If in doubt, use ‘said’.

Or, just leave them out if you want to speed up dialogue between characters. Have a read of Leading Up To… You’ll notice the start establishes the conversation with ‘said’ and ‘asked’, or in some instances, omits them altogether in favour of action. As the story progresses, fewer are used which allows the conversation to flow much easier.

I’ve compiled a list of alternatives below. Feel free to bookmark this page and refer to them when you need to use something different.


Added                Admitted                Advised                Affirmed                 Agreed

Alleged              Alluded                  Announced          Answered               Apologised

Appealed          Argued                   Articulated           Asked                      Asserted

Assured            Babbled                  Bargained            Barked                    Bawled

Beamed            Began                      Begged                 Bellowed                 Belted

Blabbed            Blustered                Boasted                Boomed                   Bragged

Breathed          Cackled                   Cajoled                 Called                      Cautioned

Challenged       Chanted                  Cheered               Chimed                    Claimed

Commanded    Commended         Commented         Conceded                Concluded

Concurred        Confessed              Confided              Confirmed              Contested

Continued        Conveyed               Corrected            Coughed                 Countered

Cried                 Criticised                Croaked               Cursed                    Debated

Decided            Declared                 Defended             Demanded             Described

Dictated           Digressed                Directed               Disclosed                Droned

Echoed             Elaborated             Emphasized         Enunciated            Exaggerated

Exclaimed       Explained               Exploded              Expressed              Fretted

Fumed             Gasped                    Giggled                  Groaned                 Growled

Grumbled       Grunted                  Guessed                Gulped                    Hailed

Hinted             Hollered                  Howled                Implied                   Implored

Inquired          Insisted                    Instructed           Interjected             Interrupted

Jeered              Joked                        Lamented           Laughed                 Lectured

Lied                  Maintained             Marveled            Mentioned              Moaned

Mouthed         Mumbled                 Murmured         Mused                     Muttered

Nagged            Noted                       Objected             Observed                Offered

Ordered          Panted                     Phrased               Pleaded                  Pledged

Pointed out    Pondered                Prayed                 Preached               Predicted

Proceeded      Proclaimed            Professed             Promised              Proposed

Protested        Queried                 Questioned          Quipped                Quoted

Raged              Ranted                   Rasped                  Raved                    Recalled

Recited            Recommended    Recounted           Refuted                 Reiterated

Related            Remarked            Remembered      Reminded             Repeated

Replied            Reported              Reprimanded      Requested            Responded

Retaliated       Retorted               Revealed               Roared                 Rumbled

Ruminated      Sang                     Scoffed                  Scolded                Screamed

Screeched        Shouted              Shrieked               Shuddered           Sighed

Snapped           Snarled               Sneered                Sobbed                 Spat

Speculated       Squawked         Stammered           Stated                  Stipulated

Stressed            Stuttered            Suggested            Sympathised       Taunted

Teased              Testified             Threatened          Thundered          Told

Urged               Uttered               Ventured               Voiced                  Volunteered

Warned            Wept                   Whimpered          Whined               Whispered

Wondered       Yelled

The list is not exhaustive as I’m sure there’s plenty I haven’t included. Have fun with them.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Both this post and I have been… saved 😏😁

    Liked by 1 person


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