104 Dynamic Words to Use Instead of Said for Dialog Tags


said well           Writing effective compelling dialog is not easy.

           This post will show you how and give you the tools to write dynamic dialog.

What is a Dialog (Speech) Tag

The main purpose of speech tags is to identify the speaker.  It is important your reader knows whose talking at the moment. Usually that means having a dialog tag before, after, or in the middle of the first line of dialog.

A tag contains a noun or pronoun (Bill, Jane, She, President, or wife) and a verb (said, ask, whispered, shouted).

It does not matter whether the noun or pronoun comes first. Example: Jane replied,  She replied,

Or the verb comes first. Example: whispered Jane, whispered she.

Both are correct; though I don’t like the verb first with a pronoun. It is still correct grammar.

Should you use Other Words for Said?

Some writers feel you should only use the words said and ask in your dialog. There is nothing wrong with using said. these words are not words to be avoided.

Simple tags like said, ask, replied, and inquired are invisible. Most readers don’t even notice them.

Said and ask don’t distract the reader.

So why struggle to find alternatives?

Because using the same word repeatedly is boring. Also sometimes the dialog doesn’t express the nuances you are looking for.

Frankly if you can say it in words, say with with dialog and simple speech tags. But if your writing more dynamic dialog alternatives are often needed.

John and I developed this list as a handy tool for when we were looking for something more expressive. This is a tool John and I have used for years. We love it. When we are looking for just the right word, we simply pull out our list.

Now, you can do the same thing. either bookmark or print the list.  So,it will be available whenever you need it.


More Expressive Verbs, can Change the Meaning of the Dialog.

Using other verbs are a great way to strengthen you dialog.


“I can’t” she wailed

“I can’t” she confided

“I can’t” she apologized

“I can’t” she pleaded

You can see how a replacement word for said can change the meaning of your dialog.

Using the right VERB will create more vibrant dialog.

                              Use ADVERBS to Express Emotion in Dialog

                            Here is one secrete to better dialog. Change the adverb (the LY word) to a verb. There is no need for the word said in this case.
dialog flamingos


Said teasingly                       Teased

Said  worriedly                     Worried

Said Jokingly                        Joked

For more information creating dynamic dialog check out: Add Punch to Your Dialog


Writing Good Dialog is an Essential Part of Storytelling.

Having a list of alternate words for said and ask, has improved our creative writing.

Do you think this list will be helpful to you?

If so, you might want to check out our list of Replacement Words for ASK.


We hope  this list of words to replace said will be helpful to you.

You might want to print or bookmark this post, so when you need another word for said you have a resource.

  Replacement Words for SAID


Agreed Declared Stated Replied Hooted
Shouted Wailed Stammered Spoke Commanded
Whined Scolded Acknowledged Answered Advocated
Dared Assured Called Chided Threatened
Drawled Coaxed Cried Divulged Swore
Addressed Bellowed Confided Denied Apologized
Whispered Rejoiced Informed Blurted Croaked
Urged Snarled Yelled Whined Objected
Promised Objected Lectured Pleaded Uttered
Uttered Protested Pointed out Joked Needled
Snickered Laughed Teased Squealed Hissed
Interjected Worried Volunteered Told Confided
Ranted Scolded Wheezed Responded Implied
Claimed Puzzled Jested Demanded Reminded
Confided Cooed Echoed Disagreed Admitted
Agreed Notified Gushed Hinted Observed
Grumbled Promised Snorted Sobbed Teased
Ranted Smiled Smirked Grinned Praised
Hissed Explained Greeted Squealed Mused
Vowed Responded Recalled Insisted Cautioned
Lectured Hollered Gasped Asserted

Don’t forget to download your  78 Replacement Words for Ask

Happy Writing

John & Patty    @writingagreatbook.com 2018


It is FREE for you to DOWNLOAD.

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