says or said in dialogue

I wonder what her rationale is, too. Was the theory of special relativity sparked by a dream about cows being electrocuted? You may draw attention to the character who has said a line by immediately following speech with that character’s actions. But not all verbs other than said should necessarily be treated with suspicion. How would sailing be affected if seas had actually dangerous large animals? Writers have habits too. Whispered, stuttered, stammered, gasped, urged, hissed, babbled, blurted. This shows the effort the character is putting in, thus you don’t need a dialogue tag necessarily. It is what a character says. rev 2020.11.24.38066, The best answers are voted up and rise to the top, English Language & Usage Stack Exchange works best with JavaScript enabled, Start here for a quick overview of the site, Detailed answers to any questions you might have, Discuss the workings and policies of this site, Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us. 1. ‘The whole point of Bond films is they’re not realistic.’. Fast heading for the train’ but ‘He ran fast, heading for the train’. 3. He’s certainly right that said is the most transparent, most discreet verb available. Part of the reason said has such a discreet presence in dialogue-giving sentences is it’s also the main verb we use in informal conversation when we report direct speech. Or only on aggregate from the individual holdings? “I told you: I don’t want to go,” she pouted. Instead of letting different ways to say ‘said’ do heavy lifting, remember this sage advice from Toni Morrison: ‘I never say “She says softly.” If it’s not already soft, you know, I have to leave a lot of space around it so a reader can hear it’s soft.’. Compact object and compact generator in a category. When you get to the end of a line of dialogue, ask yourself: If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these, you don’t need tags. Said synonyms. I agree, for the most part, that “said” is a workhorse that works best most of the time and that there are times when it’s more than appropriate to use tags that describe HOW a person speaks — like “whispered” or “grumbled” or “muttered” or “shouted.”. I think your point on increasing the vocabulary of the reader is an excellent point. “Says” sounds like it’s being spoken right now, in real time. An infographic by Grammar Check lists 222 words that can be used instead of “said.” Just Publishing Advice goes even farther and recommends 350 alternatives. Hmmm. It seems more grown-up to me. and it’s a child speaking respectfully to an elder. Let’s look at the difference. “Said” is invisible, they insist; anything else is distracting at best, clunky and awkward at worst. 5. This was so helpful! On the other hand, if you do think someone can, say, both laugh and speak simultaneously – and I advise you to try whatever combination of action and speech you wish to portray – you might want to add a present participle after the dialogue-carrying verb, like this: ‘I can’t believe you think Timothy Dalton was a better Bond than Sean Connery,’ Rita said, laughing. Just as the question mark at the end of a line of dialogue indicates someone’s asking a question, quotation marks enclosing dialogue tell the reader someone is saying something. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. The girls’ actions make it clear she’s the addressee of ‘You seem distracted.’ Her response also gives us a sense of how her date says this. 7. Your email address will not be published. I hope you got the grade you wanted. Some writers who have a strong preference for said also use an occasional asked or replied, but that’s usually about it. Yes, sorry. ‘Totally unrealistic. Although Toni Morrison’s advice above is good (creating quietness using the spaces around characters’ lines), the occasional ‘she whispered’ has its place, too. MAINTENANCE WARNING: Possible downtime early morning Dec 2/4/9 UTC (8:30PM…, “Question closed” notifications experiment results and graduation, Differentiating comma/period use in mid-dialogue, “He said, X” vs. “X, he said” vs. “X, said he”. Thank you. “I can’t believe you said Japan is larger than Australia in the quiz.”. Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. At the same time though, it's always "she said" in his dialogues, not "said she." "Maybe I should come with you," Mark replied. One option is to substitute a different verb, preferably one that communicates action or emotion at the same time. I’m writing for school (and a little for fun) and I don’t know what to write. The strength of the exclamation mark in the second character’s reply makes any dialogue tag showing emotion (e.g. I have a very strong opinion and when teaching dialogue to my students, strive to instill what I know is the proper placement. The brevity, the fact it’s only two words, conveys his tone and we can infer the character is still mad. I’m going to cover this topic at length in the next blog. Given that there are countless verbs that can take the place of ‘said,’ should you simply find a stronger, more emotive one and use that? This lack of creativity often shows up as repetitive “dialogue tags” (verbs that indicate who is speaking)—usually the word “said.”, “A reader’s emotions can be sparked with few words. The 10 Most Common Grammar Mistakes and How To Avoid Them, Common Grammar Myths You Should Ignore in Your Writing. Glad you liked the blog. Hi Nate, thank you, it’s a pleasure. Yet seasoning shouldn’t overpower substance. Invisible dialogue tags use simple verbs. Decide if dialogue tags are necessary. Do you think these rules that Elmore Leonard sets forth apply to kids lit? Declared, insisted, maintained, commanded. However, if a writer has a good reason to not follow that convention, then that’s up to him or her and to be respected — and as I just indicated, you could, like Tess Gerritsen, use both styles in the same work. My next blog will carry on from here. I’m glad to hear that, Emma. . The author is over-managing the story and not letting it unfold by itself, perhaps because he or she isn’t confident the reader is really following what’s going on. Apps like Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid can also suggest synonyms and provide alternative words, as can a site like One of my “pet peeves” is the placement of punctuation when using quotation marks. Get detailed feedback on a final assignment.]. When you write a line of dialogue and couple it with a speaker attribution, the dialogue is the grammatical object. The more we read ‘he said’ and ‘she said’, the more we’re aware of the author creating the dialogue. The words themselves, along with the character’s actions, should be enough to indicate the tone of the dialogue most of the time. How the characters engage with the setting (the woman turning to face the window, for example) reveals their emotions mid-dialogue. Let’s look at the sentence containing avowed. So, in your opinion, where do the quotation marks belong, inside or outside? how can power line 'orientation' influence electronic equipment? Good luck as you proceed with your novel. Verbs like gasped, chuckled and laughed. You can use the tag to indicate how the character speaks the dialogue by using words other than said (or asked), but don’t do this too much. Umm …..okay, A BIG THANKS for this. Use gesture, movement or reaction to show your reader details of character and setting. While a reader’s eye passes over simple tags without them shouting “I’m … “I can’t believe you said Japan is larger than Australia in the quiz,” he teased. The infographic below (via The Puppet Show) has some good alternatives. For example, you wouldn’t need to use dialogue tags in the following example. 2. It sits unobtrusively in a sentence containing direct speech, usually nestling after the most important bit, the dialogue itself. ", You get the idea. What was the most critical supporting software for COBOL on IBM mainframes? “But it’s my mother’s birthday!” he exploded. Wow! I’ve edited out the mistake in the previous comment; thanks for pointing it out. In a visual novel game with optional sidequests, how to encourage the sidequests without requiring them? Unlike "said" they are visible. As a journalism teacher for over ten years, I taught my students to always use “said,” and that it should be the last word in the sentence. I had to grit my teeth and leave the edits alone though, knowing that consistency and a uniform approach are more important int he long run. How timely. Yet it suggests words such as ‘enunciated’ as a synonym for ‘said’. It’s very hard to justify the use of these. Find out how I can help you improve your novel by getting a free sample edit, without obligation.

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