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200+ Other Words For Said: Synonyms to Spice up Your Writing

Posted by Ashley Robinson | Jan 7, 2020 8:00:00 AM

General Education

 

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One of the words that comes up most commonly in various types of writing, from fiction to academic writing, is the word “said.” Any time a writer is referencing the words or thoughts expressed by another person, whether that be thoughts expressed verbally or in writing, an appropriate way to introduce--or attribute--that person’s thoughts is with the phrase “said.” 

But if you’re incorporating a lot of quotations in your writing, you might find yourself repeating  the word “said” a lot. Repeating the same phrase in a piece of writing can start to feel monotonous, which is why incorporating synonyms or an oft-used word or phrase can make your writing more interesting and accurate. But here’s some good news: there are tons of other words for “said” out there for you to use! 

To help you build a repertoire of words to replace “said,” we’re going to do the following in this article: 

  • Explain the importance of using word variety and avoiding repetition of the same word in your writing
  • Explain when to use “said” and when not to use “said” 
  • Provide a comprehensive list of alternative words for “said,” organized into categories based on emotion and intention

Ready to check out some synonyms for “said”? Then let’s get going!


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Other Words for Said 

To give you the most comprehensive and easy-to-navigate list, we’ve organized our list into two main categories: first, we’re including several lists of other words for “said” by emotion, and second, we’re including several lists of different words for “said” by intention or action. You can decide what meaning you’re trying to express in your writing, and use our lists accordingly!

 

Happy Words to Use Instead of “Said”

We’re going to kick off our list by giving you a lot of other words for “said” by emotion, starting with synonyms for “said” that convey a happy, joyful, or positive tone. 

Applauded
Congratulated 
Prattled
Approved
Consoled
Preened
Assured
Cooed
Proclaimed
Babbled
Crowed
Professed
Bantered
Encouraged
Promised
Beamed
Giggled 
Quipped
Blathered
Greeted
Reassured
Blithered
Hooted
Reckoned
Boasted
Jabbered
Remarked
Bragged
Jested
Remembered
Bubbled
Joked
Sang
Cheered
Laughed
Smiled
Chortled
Marveled
Soothed
Chorused
Nodded
Spoke
Chuckled
Offered
Teased
Comforted
Piped
Vowed
Confided
Praised
Yakked

 

 

Sad Words to Use Instead of “Said” 

Sadness is a common emotion expressed in writing--let’s look at a few synonyms for “said” that convey sadness. 

Bawled
Gurgled
Sobbed 
Choked
Moaned
Wailed
Coughed
Sighed
Wept
Cried
Sniffed
Whimpered
Groaned
Sniffled
Whined

 

Angry Words to Replace “Said”

There are a ton of synonyms for “said” that express anger, and we’ve included several of them for you here. 

Accused
Disparaged
Rejected
Badgered
Fumed
Reprimanded
Barked
Griped
Reproached
Bellowed
Groused
Roared
Berated
Growled
Sassed
Boomed
Grunted
Scoffed
Censured
Harassed
Scolded
Chastised
Hissed
Scorned
Chided
Hollered
Shouted
Clucked
Interrupted
Smirked
Commanded
Jeered
Snapped
Complained
Jibed
Snarled
Corrected
Mocked
Sneered
Criticized
Muttered
Snickered
Demanded
Nagged
Snorted
Denied
Ranted
Stormed
Deried
Rebuked
Taunted
Dismissed
Rebuffed
Threatened

 

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Different Words for “Said” That Express Shock or Surprise

When you want to communicate a tone of shock or surprise in your writing, try using these synonyms for “said”! 

Blurted
Gawked
Spouted
Divulged
Leered
Started
Exclaimed
Let slip
Wondered
Gaped
Ogled
 
Gasped
Spilled
 

 

Other Words for “Said” That Express Fear

The last emotion it might be helpful to be able to express accurately and vividly in your writing is fear. Here’s a list of synonyms for “said” that you can use to demonstrate a feeling of fear. 

Agonized
Hesitated
Shrilled
Begged
Implored
Shuddered
Beseeched
Mumbled
Spluttered
Blanched
Murmured
Spooked
Bleated
Paled
Sputtered
Brooded
Panicked
Squeaked
Cautioned
Panted
Stammered
Confessed
Pleaded
Started
Cowered
Quaked
Tensed
Cringed
Quavered
Trembled
Croaked
Quivered
Warned
Faltered
Recoiled
Whispered
Fretted
Screamed
Worried
Gasped
Shivered
Yelped
Gulped
Shrieked
 

 

Words to Replace “Said” That Are Expository

If you’re working with a quote in which the speaker is clarifying information or explaining something, you can try out these words instead of “said”!

Added
Depicted
Rejoined
Advised
Elucidated
Remarked
Answered
Explained
Replied
Clarified
Illuminated
Responded
Defined
Illustrated
Retorted
Delineated
Portrayed
Returned

 

Other Words for “Said” That Are Argumentative

When you incorporate quotes or dialogue that make an argument, use these synonyms for “said” in your attributions.

Advanced
Claimed
Insisted
Appealed
Contended
Maintained
Argued
Corroborated
Posited
Attested
Countered
Proposed
Authenticated
Declared
Refuted
Bespoke
Defended
Substantiated
Certified
Emphasized
 
Challenged
Held
 

 

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Words to Use Instead of “Said” That Are Critical 

If a speaker in a quote or piece of dialogue is forming a critique, incorporate one of these different words for “said” in your attribution.

Analyzed
Critiqued
Gauged
Appraised
Estimated
Interposed
Assayed
Evaluated
Interpreted
Assessed
Examined
Judged
Concluded
Explicated
Reviewed
Considered
Figured
Surveyed

 

Words to Use Instead of “Said” That Are Implicative

Try using these alternative words for “said” that imply meaning. 

Adumbrated
Hinted
Predicted
Alluded
Implied
Professed
Connoted
Indicated
Signaled
Foreshadowed
Insinuated
Signified
Forewarned
Intimated
Stated
Heralded
Portended
Suggested

 

Words to Replace “Said” That Seek Information

Sometimes you need to include an attribution that shows a speaker is searching for information. These synonyms for “said” can help you establish a tone of inquisitiveness!

Adjured
Inquired
Questioned
Asked
Inspected
Quizzed
Begged
Interrogated
Requested
Demanded
Perused
Researched
Exhorted
Pondered
Scrutinized
Explored
Probed
Searched
Implored
Queried
 

 

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Words to Replace “Said” That Reveal Information

Finally, if you need a word other than “said” that reveals information, try out the options in the list below. 

Accepted
Conceded
Owned
Acknowledged
Confessed
Recognized
Admitted
Disclosed
Reported
Affirmed
Divulged
Revealed
Alleged
Exposed
Volunteered
Allowed
Granted
 
Betrayed
Imparted
 

 

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When to Use Different Words for “Said” in Your Writing...And When Not To

In most cases, deciding when to use words other than “said” in your writing is up to your discretion. But there are actually some situations when it’s correct to use “said” exclusively to attribute a piece of dialogue or a quote in your writing. This depends on the type of writing, so we’re going to break down the situations when you should definitely use “said” here!

 

Journalism

The first situation where you can expect to see writers exclusively using “said” is in any type of writing that relies on AP Style. “AP” stands for “Associated Press,” and this set of style guidelines is the standard for journalistic writing. This includes writing for newspapers, magazines, and public relations in the United States. AP Style provides a lot of rules about grammar, spelling, punctuation, and language use, and using “said” for quote attribution is one of those rules.

Impartiality and objectivity are two values that are extremely important in journalistic writing. Unlike many synonyms for “said,” which reveal a speaker’s feelings, attitude, or intentions, “said” doesn’t try to interpret the feelings, attitude, or intentions of the speaker. “Said” just states factual information: the words in the quote were spoken by a person or group of people. Using “said” allows the journalist to remain impartial and objective about the information, and it also lets readers interpret the meaning of quoted material on their own. 

 

Technical Writing

While not exactly a rule, using “said” is an unspoken expectation for quote attribution in technical writing. Technical writing is a style of writing used in business environments and some scientific fields, like engineering. It’s important for this style of writing to be clear, specific, and, in most cases, concise. In fact, readers of technical writing appreciate a writer’s ability to communicate directly and plainly by using short, direct words. That’s why “said” is the best choice for introducing quotes or paraphrases in technical writing: it’s clear, specific, and concise. 

 

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Creative Writing 

Creative writing is a third situation that might require you to think strategically about when to use “said.” In creative writing--like fiction, for instance--when and how often to use “said” is pretty much up for debate. There are a lot of synonyms for “said” that you can use to convey the emotions or intentions of a character in dialogue, but you don’t necessarily have to use some flowery synonym for “said” every time you include a piece of dialogue in creative writing. In fact, sometimes it’s okay to strategically omit attributions altogether. 

Here’s one example of a way to present dialogue in creative writing that doesn’t overuse attributions: 

 

She crossed her arms angrily. “So you weren’t planning to tell me about your trip to Paris until after you were already gone?”

“I suppose I didn’t see the point.” Paige shook her head. “It’s not like you would’ve let me go if I’d told you ahead of time.” 

“That’s really selfish, Paige.” 

 

Even without attributions for every piece of dialogue in the example above, you can still get an idea of how the characters feel and what their intentions are through the dialogue beats (“She crossed her arms angrily,” and, “Paige shook her head”). Alternatively, dialogue attributions in creative writing are another place where word variety is important. Your attributions are a great way for you to add emotion and imagery to your work. That means sometimes you might simply use “said,” sometimes you might use a more expressive synonym for “said,” and other times you might forego attributions altogether.

 

Academic Writing

One final writing situation where you’ll find yourself needing to make decisions about when to use “said” is academic, research-based writing. In academic writing, it’s important to be clear about who you are quoting and to provide adequate context for the quote you include. For example, if the scholar you’re quoting is making an argument in the quote you include, it would be more accurate to say, “Dr. Garcia argued” or “Dr. Garcia claimed,” instead of “Dr. Garcia said.” Using a quote attribution that gives your reader a clearer sense of the speaker or writer’s purpose and tone. 

 

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3 Reasons Why Word Variety Is Important in Writing

Word variety is important to any type of writing for three main reasons: using a variety of words can make your writing more engaging, more accurate, and more expressive.

First, using a variety of words can make your writing more engaging and interesting for the people who are reading it. In some types of writing, like poetry, repetition is used as a strategic stylistic device. In lots of cases, though, writers repeat the same word because they don’t know its synonyms. After a while, readers might feel a bit exhausted by repetitiveness in a piece of writing. That’s one reason why knowing and using synonyms for commonly repeated words is so important!

Second, word variety can make your writing more accurate. For example, while “said” is always going to accurately describe a piece of dialogue or a quote from an outside source, there are words to use instead of “said” that can reveal the intention behind dialogue or the information conveyed in a quote

Let’s say you incorporate a quote where the author is disagreeing with a point made by a scholar. Sure, you could introduce that quote with, “Dr. Smith said.” But you could be more accurate by introducing the quote with a word that indicates that the quote is going to express disagreement, like, “Dr. Smith countered” or “Dr. Smith responded.” 

Finally, your writing is expressive and vivid when you avoid repetition. When your word choice reflects the emotions or tone expressed by a quote or piece of dialogue that you include in your writing, your readers can get a better sense of your intended meaning. Using synonyms for “said” to create tone and imagery in your writing can help readers better understand your position and make them more willing to buy into your ideas. 

 

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What’s Next? 

If you’re studying for the verbal portion of your SAT or ACT, we’ve got you covered. Here are our expert guides to the verbal portions of the SAT and ACT, and we even have tips and tricks to help you tackle the essay sections! These are just a few of the tons (and tons!) of resources we have, so be sure to check out our blog for more information.

This cheat sheet for ways to say “said” can be really helpful if you’re starting to write your college admissions essays. Learn how to start your essay off perfectly, and make sure you know the biggest mistakes you should avoid, too.

If you’re using this guide to help you write creatively, you might be a great fit for a creative writing degree! Here’s a guide to the best creative writing colleges and programs in the United States. 

 

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Ashley Robinson
About the Author

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.



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