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For Writers, a few Alternatives to "Say" and "Said"

Updated on January 17, 2015
Strawberry | Source


Hubpages author Barbergirl28 had asked about alternatives to the word, "said." Hence this hub. There are two problems with "say" and "said." First, they are overused, and that repetitiveness can be boring. Second, "say" and "said" can be too generic; there are other words that are more specific to the situation about which one is writing. Obvious example: "screamed." I could hold forth on the subject at length.

But instead, I'll examine a few more alternatives, and attempt to make them memorable. The first case utilizes a historically based--oh no!--Feghoot.

Once upon a time, in the days of the old Roman empire, there was a farmer named Marcus, who raised strawberries, among other crops. As luck would have it, one of them was a mutation that grew to a gigantic size--bigger than most watermelons. Marcus' neighbors were fascinated by this wonder of Nature.

In a flash of inspiration, Marcus hit upon a way to supplement his meager income: Charge admission for people who want to view his wonderful strawberry! The news spread like wildfire throughout the agricultural regions of the Roman empire.

Unfortunately for Marcus, the Emperor caught wind of the mutant strawberry. He happened to be an amateur horticulturalist, who specialized in strawberries. The emperor took great pride in his strawberries. And some of them grew to be as big as apples.

The Emperor was livid that he had been upstaged by a lowly farmer. He sent one of his officials to Marcus farm, in order to impound Marcus' giant strawberry.

When the officer arrived at the farm, Marcus noticed the uniform, and jumped to the conclusion that the agent was a tax collector. Marcus assured the man that he was current on all of his taxes, and that would be declaring the strawberry-viewing earnings when filed his next income tax return.

The official explained to Marcus that he was not a revenue agent. He added:

I've come to seize your berry, not to appraise him.

Yours truly
Yours truly | Source

Rising to the Occasion

Many years ago, I participated in Sierra Club day-hikes. Since then, I've found Internet hikes to be more enjoyable. You can easily start your own local hiking group on Yahoo. Anyone who joins can volunteer to coordinate a hike, or to request information.

My very first online hike was the 9-mile Showers Lake loop, in the Northern Sierras.

I wasn't sure what to expect. Given the wild and woolly reputation of the Internet, a part of me was afraid that I'd be the only one dressed in normally casual hiking attire, and that everyone else would be sporting costumes that would be more appropriate for midnight screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was pleasantly surprised. And a good time time was had by all.

On one of the Sierra Club outings, we took a long rest break. I remember complimenting one woman on her beautiful, multi-colored shoelaces. Then another woman described an embarrassing experience from another hike. Aside from Yours Truly, all of her listeners were women.

On this particular outing, she was hiking up a very steep hill toward a high mountain pass, when a man hiking down that same trail caught her attention. Except for his boots, he was hiking in the altogether!

What to do? Cover her eyes? Look the other way? Or should she try to act nonchalant about the whole thing?

All of the other women were nodding in agreement about the awkwardness of that situation. However Wet Blanket Larry could not resist rising to the occasion.

In that situation, the one thing that you do NOT want to say is: How far up is it?

If looks could kill...



These expressions are not the only alternatives to "say" and "said." Of course, we could look up synonyms in an online Thesaurus. But that wouldn't be very sporting, would it? Here are a couple more options, together with mnemonics.

Foresters tend to be indirect. They seldom come right out and say what's on their minds. However they do opine. Ouch, bad pun! Bad Larry! *slaps self on wrist*

George W Bush's contribution to Western Civilization is misunderestimated.


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    • Larry Fields profile imageAUTHOR

      Larry Fields 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      Hi Nell. Nice to hear from you, as always.

      What you just said reminded me of a professor from graduate school. He was a very articulate man. But when felt that some of us were beginning to nod off during one of his lectures, he would use the word, "ain't" in his next sentence--just for the shock value! And even now, I find myself doing the same thing occasionally.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      And I think misunderestimated is a fine word to use in place of others! lol! funny isn't it how words do get into the dictionary, there must be loads we can use as alternatives. I like making up words, I do it deliberately at home to either, 1, make myself sound more intelligent, and 2, drive everybody made with said big word! lol! so getting back to the point, instead of say and said, I will 'state' the alternative words such as ' grinned, smiled,, maybe!

    • Larry Fields profile imageAUTHOR

      Larry Fields 

      5 years ago from Northern California

      Hi barbergirl. Thanks for stopping by.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Well thank you so much for fulfilling my request and doing it in such a timely manner. I truly enjoyed this and will definititly need to pass this on to other writers! :)


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