The note in my hand made me nervous. Incredulous! Not on my watch and other such nonsense spluttered out from within. How could they? I ranted and raved at my youngest as we talked about his homework.

Said is dead.

Now, I don’t know anyone called Said and if they do happen to have died then I am truly sorry but this isn’t about a person, this is about writing conversations.

It seems that said is no longer required. We must reply or shout or scream instead. Not said. Said is dull and needs livened up. Said is boring. Said is no longer to be used for the purposes of this exercise, the bossy ink proclaims.

But I like said.

It’s a fine word. I like its calm demeanour and easy charm. I like the way it brings together sentences that would otherwise run away and never come back. I like its useful gift to the enter key – next paragraph, what happens now, it says quietly.

The homework is done but said is not dead. Its alive and well and living in my 2nd draft.


  1. This person is a fool. By all means teach that there are other options, but also teach restraint in their use… Maybe buy them a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing for an end of year gift? 🙂

    1. Author

      That’s the curriculum for you. It was a one-off but then they might never use it, thinking it’s not as good or clever as the others.

      1. Teach your son to write in haiku, and insist that’s all he uses at school… maybe they’ll get the point! (Maybe he’ll end up hooked on haiku like me 🙂 )

  2. I agree with you that “said” is often enough (or even more than enough). I hate over-flowery dialogue tags like “exclaimed” or “breathed” or “uttered”. That said (haha – see what I did there?) – used sparingly, they are sometimes okay, too. The important thing is that ‘rules’ on this type of thing actually stifle creativity and originality. Grrr.

    1. Author

      To be fair it was one of 8 exercises to be done but I just don’t understand why the need to remove it all. Look for the others they say, they’re much more exciting. No they’re not, said is just as exciting as all the other proclamations of speech. I’m going to use said more now, just to make it feel better. 🙂