Teachers! Please don’t make your students use synonyms for “said,” he opined

Take it away, Gabriel Roth:

“Replacing the word ‘said’ with ‘colorful’ or ‘lively’ synonyms is a ubiquitous symptom of bad writing. Individual instances are usually redundancies: ‘I’ll never cheat again!’ is recognizable as a promise without ‘he vowed’ after it. But a procession of ‘she explained’ and ‘he chuckled’ and ‘I expostulated’ — the reporting verbs that clog your dialogue when you follow the ‘never say said’ rule — is worse, because they force the reader’s attention away from the content of the writing and onto the writer’s hunt for synonyms ... Successful writing modulates the lavishness of its diction for effect, rather than cranking the dial all the way to maximum floridity and leaving it there.”

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