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Dialogue Tags

Updated on April 16, 2015

Using dialogue tags -

When it comes to dialogue tags in fiction, there are a few things that annoy me. The first is overuse of the word "said". The second, overuse of alternative dialogue tags and third, overuse of dialogue tags in general.

Now, it is perfectly acceptable to use the word "said". But if that is the only dialogue tag you use, it gets repetitive. Unfortunately, in an attempt not to overuse the word "said", some writers end up inserting every dialogue tag they can think of into their text. In addition to looking unprofessional, the dialogue tags can quickly become ineffective.

While I am not here to give a lesson on how to properly use dialogue tags, I would like to offer a friendly reminder - dialogue tags are not always necessary. If it is evident who is speaking, avoid using them unless it is important to emphasize the way something is being said. In addition to checking out the links provided above, look at works by authors you admire and observe how they use dialogue tags.

Looking for the right dialogue tag?

Writing has always been a passion of mine and over the years, I have kept, among other resources, a growing list of dialogue tags. If you're looking for the right dialogue tag, you might just find it here.

Do you notice dialogue tags when you are reading?

See results

Dialogue Tags

Accused, Acknowledged, Added, Addressed, Admitted, Advertised, Advised, Agonized, Agreed, Announced, Answered, Apologized, Approved, Argued, Articulated, Asked

Babbled, Barked, Bawled, Beamed, Beckoned, Began, Begged, Bellowed, Blubbered, Blurted, Boasted, Boomed, Bossed, Bragged, Breathed, Broke in, Bugged, Burst out

Called, Called out, Cautioned, Chanted, Chattered, Cheered, Chimed in, Chortled, Chorused, Chuckled, Claimed, Comforted, Commanded, Commented, Complained, Concluded, Confessed, Confided, Consoled, Continued, Contradicted, Cooed, Countered, Cried, Criticized, Croaked, Crooned, Crowed, Cursed, Cussed

Debated, Declared, Demanded, Denied, Dictated, Directed, Disagreed, Disclosed, Divulged

Echoed, Emphasized, Encouraged, Exclaimed, Explained, Exposed

Faltered, Fought back, Fussed

Gabbed, Gasped, Gawked, Giggled, Grieved, Grinned, Groaned, Growled, Grumbled, Grunted, Guessed, Gulped, Gushed

Hinted, Hissed, Hollered, Howled, Huffed, Hypothesized

Imitated, Implied, Implored, Informed, Inquired, Insisted, Interjected, Interrogated, Interrupted

Jabbered, Joked, Justified

Lamented, Laughed, Lectured, Lied, Lisped

Mentioned, Mimicked, Moaned, Mocked, Mouthed, Mumbled, Murmured, Muttered

Nagged, Noted

Objected, Offered, Ordered

Panted, Parroted, Pestered, Piped, Pleaded, Pointed out, Pondered, Pouted, Prayed, Preached, Pressed, Proclaimed, Promised, Proposed, Protested, Purred, Puzzled

Queried, Questioned, Quipped, Quizzed, Quoted

Ranted, Raved, Read, Reasoned, Reassured, Recalled, Reckoned, Remarked, Remembered, Reminded, Repeated, Replied, Requested, Retorted, Revealed, Roared

Sang, Sassed, Scoffed, Scolded, Screamed, Screeched, Shared, Shot, Shouted, Shrieked, Sighed, Slurred, Smiled, Smirked, Snapped, Snarled, Sneered,Sneezed, Snickered, Sniffed, Sniffled, Snipped, Snorted, Sobbed, Spat, Sputtered, Squeaked, Squealed, Stammered, Started, Stated, Stressed, Stuttered, Suggested

Taunted, Teased, Tempted, Testified, Theorized, Thought aloud, Threatened, Told

Urged, Uttered

Verified, Voiced, Volunteered, Vowed

Wailed, Went on, Wept, Wheezed, Whimpered, Whined, Whispered, Wondered, Worried

Yawned, Yelled

What about you?

Do you have any advice for using dialogue tags? Are there any authors who you particularly admire or dislike for their use of dialogue tags? Do you have a favorite dialogue tag that my list failed to include?

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