Languages › English as a Second Language Words to Use Instead of "Said" Share Flipboard Email Print Dimitri Otis/Getty Images English as a Second Language Writing Skills Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Reading Comprehension Grammar Business English Resources for Teachers By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated January 16, 2020 It's common to use the verb "say" over and over again when writing dialogue. Not only is he said she said repetitive, but it's also not very descriptive. To better describe the feelings behind the reported speech and other statements in narrative writing, it's important to use vocal verbs and adverbs. Vocal verbs and adverbs help provide motivation behind statements, questions, and replies and convey important information to readers. Each vocal verb and vocal adverb has a short description of typical usage, as well as an example statement illustrating how to replace he said she said with something much more descriptive. Vocal Verbs Vocal verbs provide information on the tone of the statement. For example, the vocal verb "moan" indicates that something is said in a complaining fashion in a low voice. These vocal verbs are grouped by a general indication of the type of statement made. Speaking Suddenly blurtexclaimgaspsnap Examples: Alison blurted out the answer.Jack gasped in reaction to the scene.I snapped a quick response to his question. Providing Advice or an Opinion advisearguecautionnoteobservewarn Examples: Pete cautioned the children to be careful.The teacher observed that the exercise was difficult.The driver warned his passengers about the noise. Being Loud exclaimbellowcallcryscreamshoutyell Examples: She shouted out the answer.The boys screamed as they dived into the cold water.The mother cried out in disdain when her son was accused of the crime. Complaining The following four vocal verbs are often used to describe someone complaining: groanmoanmumblemutter Examples: Jack mumbled his responses to the questions.He muttered so badly that they couldn't understand him.I moaned that I was hurt. Speaking with Authority or Command announceassertorder Examples: The teacher announced the exam at the end of the week.Jane asserted her rights as a voter.The police ordered the protesters away from the area. Vocal Adverbs Vocal verbs provide information on the manner in which the statement is made. Vocal adverbs are often used to provide additional information on the feeling that the speaker has when making a statement. For example, the vocal adverb "joyfully" indicates that something is said with great joy. For example, He joyfully exclaimed the news! indicates that the speaker is happy when making the statement. Compare this to He arrogantly exclaimed the news, which conveys very different information about the speaker. Common Vocal Adverbs admiringly: indicates respect for someoneExample: Alice admiringly noticed his clothes.angrily: indicates angerExample: She angrily denounced his crimes.casually: without much importanceExample: She casually conceded her mistake.cautiously: in a careful mannerExample: She cautiously mentioned the extra homework.cheerfully: indicates joy, happinessExample: Frank cheerfully agreed to do the job.decisively: indicates a belief in the statement madeExample: Ken decisively replied to the question.defiantly: indicates a challenge to somethingExample: Peter defiantly taunted his classmates.formally: proper, through official channelsExample: Josh formally complained to the personnel department.harshly: indicates critical judgmentExample: The teacher harshly scolded the children.meekly: indicates quietness, shynessExample: Jennifer meekly mumbled her apology.offensively: indicates rudenessExample: Alan offensively argued his point about schooling.sternly: indicates authorityExample: The teacher sternly stated that all reports were due on Friday.thankfully: indicates gratitudeExample: Jane thankfully accepted the job offer.wisely: indicates experience or intelligenceExample: Angela wisely commented on the situation.