You've probably seen the pictures on Pinterest proclaiming that "Said is Dead!" with columns of alternative attributions to use for more descriptive writing. I've never understood this. "Said" serves a useful purpose in writing and quoting dialogue.
I wondered why students were being taught not to use it? This certainly was not anything I had learned in any of my writing courses.
I was informed that students are encouraged to use alternatives to make their writing more descriptive. "Show, don't tell!" Hmmm... I encourage my students to "show, don't tell" as well, but I've never focused on the attribution.
Should I? Does it really enhance your writing by using alternative synonyms?
I don't think it does. In fact, I think it can make your writing worse.
I know this may upset many teachers out there who insist that getting rid of "said" makes for better writing, so here are my reasons why you should keep "said" alive:
1. Expository/Informative writing must be unbiased, therefore using anything but "said" would be creating a connotation or bias. This is my #1 problem with "said is dead." Many of my journalism students will want to use other words beside "said" (or "says") in their articles. This is a big no-no in journalism.
Look at the front page of a newspaper and read any of the latest news stories. For every quote the writer will use "said" or "says." (See example, below.) It would be unethical for the writer of a news story to create bias by using words like "demanded," "argued," "gloated," or "whined." If you do see these words in a "news" story, I wouldn't trust the writer or the publication. This is a technique that pundits will use to twist or distort a quote to promote their own opinion. It's also the quickest way to see if a news source is reliable and unbiased: if their writers or newscasters use attributions other than "said," then they are, indeed, biased. It is wrong for someone claiming to be a journalist--whether in print or broadcast--to use biased terminology when reporting the news.
2. "Said," like any other word, shouldn't be overused; but that doesn't mean it should be replaced. If you find yourself overusing the word "said," instead of replacing it with other words, see if it is even needed at all. For example, author Suzanne Collins demonstrates in The Hunger Games the technique (or rule?) of starting a new paragraph with each new speaker. While in some cases it may be necessary to attribute the quote to a certain speaker, in many cases an attribution can be left off:
|An example when attribution is not necessary in lines of dialogue.|
3. If your line of dialogue needs improving, changing the attribution isn't the answer. Your quotes should speak for themselves. Getting creative with synonyms for said will not make the dialogue better. In fact, it will probably distract the reader. Try improving the actual dialogue, not the attribution:
4. There's a reason why "said" works in writing: we tend to skip over the word when we're reading it. And that's OK! That is what makes the piece flow. If we begin to muck-up our writing with alternatives to "said," it disrupts that natural flow.
It IS OK to use alternatives to "said" with younger students.
Many children's books will use creative attributions in dialogue, and that's fine. The audience for those works are children who have very short attention spans and crave dramatic effects; using "exclaimed" and "growled" and "whimpered" will work perfectly for that audience. But unless you are having your students only write for their peers aged 2-8, please do their future English teachers a favor and keep "said" alive. Thank you.
Love this, Tracee! I will be sharing!! Thank you!ReplyDelete
Yay! I couldn't agree more. A published author once gave a talk at a writing institute I attended. She said the same thing and I couldn't believe how much sense it made. Her rationale was that "said" should be used because it becomes invisible letting the actual dialogue stand out.ReplyDelete
Love your infographic. Pinning it now! :)
Sunny Days In Second Grade
Thank you Kristen & Denise! I waited a bit before I hit the "publish" button because I wasn't sure how people would react. But I agree with your instructor: it does become invisible and helps with the flow of the writing. Whew...I feel better! Thanks for commenting! :)ReplyDelete
Well said, Tracee!! Pinned it!ReplyDelete
Just 4 Teachers: Sharing Across Borders
love it, so true and so important we teach "good writing" not just "word replacement"!ReplyDelete
I've never really thought about it, but I agree. Word replacement should make the writing stronger. Said is often the most appropriate word and if you need to convey tone or emotion then you can use a word that implies the desired message.ReplyDelete
I had never thought about said in this way before (becoming invisible to make the flow better). I am going to share this post with my counterpart in the high school. We are looking for ways to help our teachers teach their students to be analytical thinkers and I believe this post will help in our weekly teachers' meeting.ReplyDelete
Thinking Out Loud
Great post. For awhile I was a killer of said. But you are right. There are places it is essential and places where it isn't needed at all.ReplyDelete
This makes so much sense.ReplyDelete
Well 'said'!! You have put into words something I've been thinking for a long time but haven't been able to articulate. Good writing is good writing, not about individual word choices in isolation. Will definitely be sharing this - thanks!ReplyDelete
I personally use them exclusively high-quality elements : you will notice these folks during: https://www.seoexpertindelhi.in/google-word-coach/ReplyDelete
Great blog learned many things about online classes from this blog, very informative. Learnandace is one of the best places for online English classes in USA.ReplyDelete
Best Online Classes For Kids
Best Online Learning For Kids
virtual phonics lessons
No matter where you go in the world, you have a very good chance of finding someone who speaks English. English is quickly becoming the global language, and it dominates the world in many ways. https://www.seoexpertindelhi.in/google-word-coach/ReplyDelete
Aivivu đại lý vé máy bay, tham khảoReplyDelete
giá vé máy bay đi Mỹ khứ hồi
đặt vé máy bay giá rẻ từ mỹ về việt nam
lich bay tu duc ve viet nam
giá vé máy bay từ moscow về hà nội
chuyến bay từ anh về việt nam
chuyến bay từ châu âu về việt nam
ve may bay cho chuyen gia nuoc ngoai
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should write more on this topic, it might not become a taboo subject but typically persons are inadequate to communicate in on such topics. Yet another. Cheers Best assignment provider in USAReplyDelete
Study the advanced teachings of A Course in Miracles online; miracle study resources for students and teachers who wish to master the metaphysics of ACIM. Large free library: MP3s, publications, supplements. acim free resourcesReplyDelete
On this subject internet page, you'll see my best information, be sure to look over this level of detail. Thomas Watson physicsReplyDelete
photopia director crack
movavi photo editor crack
device doctor pro crackReplyDelete
ableton live crackReplyDelete
photopia director crack
light invoice crack
adina system crack
mediamonkey gold crack
app builder crack
ashampoo soundstage pro crack
I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! Satta resultReplyDelete
I admit, I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues. Satta king onlineReplyDelete
you will need support or suggestions, write me privately.ReplyDelete
I interested in your implementation/use case.
the best kera4d
Cool you inscribe, the info is really salubrious further fascinating, I'll give you a connect to my scene. How to Translate Hello to GermanReplyDelete
So it is interesting and very good written and see what they think about other people. Is homework illegalReplyDelete
Can I use virtual office for company registration Singapore?ReplyDelete
Does a virtual office serve as a Registered Office Address in Singapore? Yes, ACRA's criteria states: The office must be open and accessible to all for at least five hours during ordinary business hours on each business day. The office address should be a physical office address located in Singapore.
Beaver says I also have such interest, you can read my profile here: Black satta kingReplyDelete
An interesting dialogue is price comment. I feel that it is best to write more on this matter, it may not be a taboo topic however usually individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers. Satta resultReplyDelete
You can choose a Satta number and bet on it online If the number you choose becomes the lucky number of the day, you are a winner or entity. You will be paid nine times your bet on that number. Each country has a version of this game. The entity became the king's winner and every day many people became famous for playing it.ReplyDelete
Check out our latest things at Jacket Store. The certifiable cowhide coat store, men, women, whiz, halloween and gaming coats. Research more to get your main thing for your wardrobe. WW2 Bomber JacketReplyDelete
Homepage https://www.dolabuy.co see dolabuy gucci check over here replica designer bagsReplyDelete