Ask,78 Words to Use Instead (Write Killer Speech Tags)


Why Use Dialog?

replacement words for ask

Writers have two ways to tell a story: Dialog and Narrative (prose).

Narrative can quickly become boring. It’s astonishing how much better your story will sound in dialog.

Strive to include some dialog on every page.

Using alternate words for ask will spice up your dialog.

Contents:   12 Powerful tricks for writing outstanding dialog

                     8 Masterful ways to add variety to your speech tags

                        Lets put all the tricks together.

                         List of 78 words to use instead of ask.

                       3 Websites about dialog to give you more ideas.

12 Powerful Tricks for Writing Outstanding Dialog

 1.  Dialog can be  raucous and loud. In short, it needs personality, just like             your characters.

2. Dialog is not perfect English. People use poor English like, contractions        (don’t , can’t, we’ll), when they speak.

3. To make your dialog realistic use slang appropriate to the time and               place of your story.

4. Great dialog can be awkward, quirky or outrageous.

5. Dialog need not include mundane greetings like; Hi and good bye.

6. The best dialog includes movement. People rarely speak standing                   still. They fidget, wave their hands, and touch each other.

7. Opposition is the secret to maintaining energy in dialog. You don’t need      a fight.                                              punch to dialog tags

8. But remember to add tension to the              conversation.

9. When a character asks something make       it a powerful request.

10. The more visual details you add to the          dialog, the more interesting it will be to        your reader. Paint a picture. Help your          reader both see and hear the conversation.

11. Break up the dialog with sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

The more interesting the details the more captivated your reader will be.

12. Include changes in the speakers volume, tone, or pitch.This is one                important trick to creating effective speech tags.

Here are some Ideas:

  • Loud:   protested,   disputed, demanded, jabbed, hawked
  • Soft:     prayed, needled, wished, invited,  angled

It is essential to make your dialog easy to read and understand. 

Dialog Punctuation

Punctuating dialog can be difficult. The rules are so specific. It is easy to forget which formatting to use for each line of dialog.

Punctuation dialog correctly makes your story clear and understandable so your reader will enjoy it.

I know you could leave it up to your editor. Just remember, the more work for your editor , the more expensive it will be.

John and I found it hard to remember all the rules for punctuating dialog, So, we created a simple info-graph to make it easy.

Grab your Free info-graph for Punctuating Dialog before you go.

Keep reading we have 8 more tips.

       8  Masterful Ways To Add Variety to Your Speech Tags     variety to dialog tags

If  the first dozen tips are not enough, this is a very important point, often overlooked.

Let me show you how this trick will add vitality to your dialog.

A dialog tag is a small phrase that can be put before, after or between the dialog.

Depending on where the tag is put you must use different punctuation, and capitalization.

  1. If your dialog follows a section of narrative it is best to put the speech tag at the beginning.This identify s the speaker, preventing confusion for the reader.

      For example: Ben asked, “Why are you leaving?”

2.. Place the speech tag in the middle of the dialog.

      For Example: “Why are you leaving?” Ben asked. ” I thought you                                                 planned to stay.”

3. The speech tag can go at the end of the dialog.

      For Example: “Why are you leaving? I thought you planned to stay,”                                        Ben entreated.

5 Easy Ways to Add Pzazz to Speech tags

Speech tags provide valuable clues, not only about which character is talking but how they say it.

4. You can use basic speech tags like said and ask. Or you can spice up your dialog with other verbs.

  Consider these alternatives for ask  questioned  queried  interrogated begged  petitioned  prodded

  Our list of 78 other verbs for ask is at the end of this post.

5. Action Tags:  use physical actions or activity of the speaker to break up the dialog.

Here are some Ideas     winked  folded her arms  shrugged   scratch chin   took a deep breath  snapped fingers 

6. Facial Expressions  make good speech tags.                                                                                                               facial speech tags

Some possibilities:  face darkened    rolled eyes    licked lips   nostrils flared    blushed    eyes teared up

7. Another type of speech tag is Tone of Voice

  Like These:   questioning tone    snapped   frustrated    amused tone   voice rose    asked shyly

speech tag inner thought

8.  Thought Tags tell your reader what the point of view character or the narrator is thinking.

       This type of tag helps your reader connect to your character.

Examples: I can’t believe he said that.

I don’t know what I can say to her.

What will dad say when he finds out?

Let’s Put All the Tricks Together

At this point you realize there are many different ways to use speech tags. Varying your tags will improve your dialog.

Now let me demonstrate how this can work for you.

Dialog is in pink and the tag is in Blue.

John askedWhat’s in it for you?”

“I haven’t Figured it out, yet,” Fred shrugged. “But I will.”

“What do you plan to do?” John’s face darkened.

Fred Shouted,“I don’t know.”

“I wish John would leave me alone.” Fred turned and walked away disgusted.

Can you see how different sentence structure and a variety of tags can dramatically improve your dialog, making it more dynamic.

Dialog is an essential part of storytelling.

Now you know 17 tricks and you have a list of verbs to use instead of  plain old ask. We have found this list of verbs invaluable.

We hope you will find stronger more imaginative words to spice up your dialog. Our list will stimulate your thinking.

Sometimes ask is good. Sometimes a more descriptive word or action will create better dialog.

Your speech tags should help your readers understand your characters. How they ask questions is often more important than the question itself.

Good speech tags reveal your character’s attitudes, and emotions.

Check out our list of 240 words to use instead of said and 50 words to NEVER use or Simple guide to 55 common Literary Devices.

You might want to print or bookmark this post so you have a resource when looking for a words to replace ask.

This is a list of words we use regularly.

We hope our list is helpful to you.                                                                                 they ask

Questioned Interrogate Debriefed Tested Opposed
Cross examine Interviewed Grilled To discover Contested
Craved Griped Interrupted Petitioned Demanded
Interjected Disputed Complained Incited Pumped
Examined Protested Doubted Commanded Solicited
Pondered aloud Deliberated Wondered Supplicated prompted
Queried Requested Investigated Encouraged Provoked
Entreated Wished Invited Appealed Plead
Studied Revised Dubious Beseech Scrutinized
Disputed Doubted Undecided Urged Begged
Quizzed Pushed Compelled Entreated Snooped
Pressed Pumped Suspected Dug Jabbed
Distrusted Searched Explored Pried Meddled
Surveyed Prodded Delved Interfered Studied
Explored Calculated Considered Inspected Analyzed
Probed Deliberated Clarified

Download this list as a PDF cheat Sheet     78 words to replace ask

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What words can I use instead of ask? Quara

 43 word to use instead of ask.

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Happy Writing

John & Patty

Ask, 78 Words to Use Instead (write killer Speech Tags
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Ask, 78 Words to Use Instead (write killer Speech Tags
Why Use Dialogue? Powerful tricks for writing outstanding dialogue. 8 masterful ways to add variety to your speech tags. 5 easy ways to add pzazz to your speech tags Put all of it together List of 78 alternative words for ask
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Writing a Great Book
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