Using other words instead of ask will spice up your dialogue.
There is some controversy among writers about using other words beside said and ask.
Many writers believe said and ask are invisible. They believe using alternate words is distracting. These writers feel that by using other words instead of ask the writer is adding their own comments to the dialogue.
Actually, we created this list because we disagree with that philosophy. We believe by using other verbs instead of ask the dialogue can be strengthened.
I will admit that the words your character says are far more important than the dialogue tag. But that doesn’t mean a stronger tag does not improve the dialogue.
Strong Verbs Instead of Ask
One of the main purposes of dialogue is to give our readers a glimpse into our character’s attitudes.
Obviously, there is a great difference between a speaker who asks and a speaker who demands.
Consider these examples:
He asked her. He interrogated her.
He grilled her. He implored her.
Can you see how writing with strong verbs instead of ask adds to the characterization of the people who are speaking. To us, using strong verbs instead of ask creates more powerful dialogue.
We are all striving to be better writers. Dialogue is an essential part of storytelling. With practice, you can learn to write meaningful dialogue. This list can help you do just that.
Grab a PDF list of 78 Strong Verbs to use Instead of Ask
Adding Adverbs the Dialogue Tags
Some writers like to add adverbs like: loudly or shyly. To us, adverbs tend to dilute the power of the dialogue. We developed this list because we were looking for strong verbs that would eliminate the use of adverbs.
Killer speech tags are created with strong, descriptive verbs. A speech tag should provide valuable clues, not only about which character is speaking but how they are saying it. That’s what this list is for.
List of 78 Words to Use Instead of Ask
Since you are here, you must agree with our philosophy about dialogue tags. So here is our list of strong, descriptive verbs to use instead of ask. We believe they will add pizzazz to your speech tags.
Craved Griped interpreted petitioned demanded Examined interjected Disputed Complained Incited Pumped protested doubted commanded solicited Deliberated petition supplicated proposed pry prompted Queried Requested investigated encouraged Provoked Entreated grilled invited appealed Plead studied revised dubious beseech Scrutinize disputed doubted undecided Urged Begged meddled Pushed compelled snooped Suspected Dug jabbed pressed Quizzed searched explored pried meddled Surveyed prodded delved Interfered studied explored implored needled Considered Inspected analyzed probed Deliberated clarified debrief wished Question inquire query seek search objected checked reviewed pop the question
One thing we ran into was figuring out how to punctuate dialogue correctly. It was hard for us to remember when to put a comma, and when to put a period. So, we created a cheat sheet. As a bonus today you can download this cheat sheet for yourselves.
How to Punctuate Dialogue Info Graph More Information about words to use Instead of Ask See:
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Check out our PDF list of Replacement Words for Said.
John & Patty @writingagreatbook.com 2020