Said is Dead?

Said is Dead“Said is dead,” blurted Miss Crabtree.

“What happened to it?” asked eight-year-old Heather.

“It died of boredom,” grimly explained the teacher.

“It must have been very bored,” said Heather.

“It wasn’t Said who was bored,” cried Miss Crabtree, “but everyone who had to listen to it.”

“Said wasn’t boring to me,” said Heather.

“Wasn’t boring?” exclaimed the teacher.

“Not to me.”

“That’s because you haven’t been around as long as the rest of us, dear,” stomped Miss Crabtree.

“But I read a lot,” said Heather.

“Not enough obviously,” insinuated the teacher.

“But I liked Said.”

“How is that possible?” moaned Miss Crabtree.

“Because Said was quiet,” said Heather.

“Quiet!” cackled the teacher. “It was always in the way!”

Heather shook her head. “Said quietly did its job of informing who was talking. That’s all I needed to understand the story.”

“That’s ridiculous!” hooted the teacher.

“It’s true.”

“Said had no spice,” harped Miss Crabtree. “It had no colour, no pizzazz.”

“Exactly,” said Heather. “So it didn’t get in the way of reading the story.”

Miss Crabtree pursed her lips and glared at the child. Then she turned to the rest of the class and declared, “Said is dead!”

“Then I will bring it back to life,” said Heather.

“You can’t,” gasped Miss Crabtree.

Heather smiled as she walked to the chalkboard and wrote: “I am happy to say I’m back and ready to work behind the scenes to tell you which character is saying what without getting in the way of your story,” said Said.

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19 thoughts on “Said is Dead?

    • Yes, I agree. Once I learned I could use ‘said’, it freed me to think about the other words in the sentence instead of spending time looking for a unique word to use as a dialogue tag.

    • I put a tag on most lines to over emphasize the point. In reality, I would never use these many dialogue tags. I use said almost all the time, but I have used whispered, asked and shouted. Often times I just tell readers what the person is doing: “Hand me that wrench.” Molly grinned, revealing blueberry-stained teeth.

      Thanks for visiting, Ernesto.

  1. Great story Diane. There seems to be much debate about ‘said’ that it is necessary and lots many say ‘souping’ up the words isn’t correct either. Interesting take here. I like that ‘said’ can be invisible, a good thing sometimes.

    • My biggest beef with ‘said is dead’ is that students are learning this in the school system. My kids were instructed that ‘said is dead’ so they could broaden their vocabulary with adjectives. I tell them to tell their teachers that ‘said is not dead’. If they want to broaden their vocabulary, they should learn stronger verbs and leave ‘said’ alone.

      The problem with the school’s philosophy is that students who become writers must forget what they’ve learned, and dump ‘she barked’ and ‘he hissed’.

      Thanks, Debby.

  2. “Great story,” said Art. “It really makes the point to most of us, but like talking about the evils of smoking, favourite sport teams or politics, some people will never be convinced. Keep up the battle.”

  3. That is funny! Thanks. I’ve always been told that ‘said’ is invisible to most readers and there have been times when I have been grateful for that invisible word while reading a dialogue heavy piece of work. While writing, it feels thoughtful to include the occasional said, so as not to break the hypnotic spell that is the excellent reading experience.

  4. Good one and thanks. I get just a little tired of ‘pronouncements’ from ‘Somewhere Up There’ about basic things that help make writing clear. I really dislike when I’m enjoying reading a story and all of a sudden, I can’t figure out exactly who spoke. It’s usually clear, once I go back and reread a few of the sentences, but that disrupts my train of thought and interferes with my enjoyment of the story. It knocks me out of the fictional world in which I’ve been immersed.

    • Thank you, Bea. I agree. I’ve read several novels over the years in which I had to stop and check to see who was talking. A simple ‘said’ takes care of it and doesn’t get in the way.

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