Synonyms For “Say” or “Said”

For narrative writing, sometimes you want to use a verb other than “he says” or “she said.” This is a cheatsheet to help you break out of that rut.

Variation Possibilities
Explanatory answered, acknowledged, explained, proposed,
replied, responded, retorted
Tone: Anger fumed, raged, scolded, shrieked, shouted
Tone: Argumentative/Oppositional argued, contended, countered, cried out, demanded, dictated,
emphasized, insisted, maintained, ordered, preached, proclaimed
Tone: Happy giggled, joked, laughed
Tone: Sad agonized, cried, mourned, screamed, sobbed, wept
Tone: Suggestive hinted, implied, insinuated, intimated, suggested
Tone: Tired/Pleading begged, implored, mumbled, murmured, muttered, pleaded, whispered
Tone: Understanding accepted, agreed, empathized, sympathized
Tone: Miscellaneous cackled, drawled, exclaimed

24 thoughts on “Synonyms For “Say” or “Said”

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    November 2, 2017 at 3:25pm

    What would you use if you had to do a character that is sad but happy and anouncing something

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    May 19, 2017 at 6:16am

    that is called onomatoeipia

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 19, 2017 at 6:14am

    Hello, this word list helped me a lot, I have learned a lot of different words

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    March 20, 2017 at 10:25am

    what if i am using character who is shy and what words i would use say for that?

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    January 31, 2017 at 8:44am

    it would be helpful if there were words for called as i am writing a story

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    October 13, 2015 at 2:47pm

    Hey! Thanks for this list! It will help in my 6th grade writing class but I have a question.
    What if a chracater is to speak in a nervous tone, or a bully-like tone. It would mean a lot that you could find these answers and possibly more tones for perfect essay writing! But I will definetly use these tips in my essay. thanks!

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    Michael Alonso

    November 7, 2014 at 9:59am

    If you plan to have talking animals, you can also use “yowled”, “mewed”, “bark”, “yipped”, “squawked” and other depending on the animal.

    Crackled, fizzled, beeped and similar can be used for mechanical creatures.

    • Starry_Skies1324

      September 5, 2016 at 5:42pm

      thanks this helps a lot with animal and other misc stuff!

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    September 24, 2014 at 6:18pm

    Thank you. This is going to help me on my essay, and my writing. I’m 14 and I write novel type books in my spare time, if I have any at all.

    • Kathy E. Gill

      September 26, 2014 at 10:49am

      You’re welcome, Kayla.

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    Joanna Sherwood

    December 27, 2013 at 2:56pm

    Thank you for these life saving tips! There really going to help me with my book, it’s SciFi and has a lot of dialog. But you need another tone, like chat or something. Because I wanna find words that I can use in normal chat.

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    Cassey J

    May 25, 2013 at 8:04am

    thank you. I am 14 and writing a novel that has a lot of dialog. This really helped me!

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    April 29, 2013 at 1:18pm

    Thank you, this will help me alot with my essay.

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    March 3, 2013 at 5:56am

    really usefull! also i would add cried to the sad list.

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    Lynda Finn

    August 30, 2012 at 9:27pm

    What a useful list. Thankyou. May I add – cautioned, yelled, roared, allowed (agreement) tittered, chuckled, hissed, growled. I’ve seen ’empathised’ in books but that’s not strictly accurate as empathy is the ability to *feel* what someone else is feeling and often used quite wrongly.

    You can sympathise, as that is understanding, but not empathise. :)

    Also, to any budding writers, there are many words which even experienced writers use wrong (and get them past lazy editors! ) One is “prone” – if a person is lying prone, they are face down (look it up in the dictionary is my rule) this leads to hilarious visual situations such as when someone is ‘lying prone and gazing at the stars’ !! The other word which really annoys is ‘brackish” this is a mixture of salt and fresh water, as one might find in an estuary, it does NOT mean dirty water, as is so often implied.
    The other important thing is to make your clauses agree. To write, “Driving in to work, a tree fell on Mary’s car” means the tree was driving. :)
    ‘Driving in to work, Mary’s car was hit by a tree’ – is better

    “She was so tired she jumped into the bed in her underclothes” recently caused me to laugh out loud.

    The rule here is to ask yourself “what or who is that first clause about?” The 2nd clause should be about that too.

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    October 20, 2011 at 11:26pm

    Thanks a lot for these ! :] Rachelle is just stupid and ignorant. She won’t get far in life with her attitude.

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