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Other Ways to Say “Said”

Image representing students learning how to say "said" in other ways

As Limp Bizkit sang, “some days it’s all about the ‘he says, she says’” … and when you’re speaking in English, it’s easy to find yourself using the word ‘said’ far too much!

This is a common problem when you’re telling a story or reporting information given to you by someone else. Sometimes you find yourself using the word “said” every few words, which starts to sound very repetitive.

(Actually, native English speakers often have a habit of replacing “said” with “like”, as in: “She was like, where’s my coffee, and I was like, you didn’t ask for one!” Although this is very common slang, it’s also something that many people find annoying, or think sounds a bit stupid when over-used, so I’d avoid mimicking this turn of phrase too much!)

When you’re talking about something that another person said directly to you, you can also use “told me” in exactly the same way as “said”. E.g. “Sam told me about the meeting tomorrow” or “Emma told me that the pizza is good here.”

However, to help you broaden your vocabulary and find an alternative to ‘said’ that helps you express exactly what you mean, here are some other ideas.

Describing How Something Was Said

If you would like to be more descriptive about the way the other person said / told you something, you can use a word like:

Whispered

Saying something very quietly, so that no one else will hear. E.g. “He whispered to me that we should sneak out before the boring speeches started”.

Shouted

Say something very loudly, either to make sure you are heard or because you are angry. E.g. “She shouted over the music that she was feeling sick,” or “My sister got really angry and shouted at me that I’d broken her laptop.”

Complained

This shows that the other person was unhappy about whatever they said to you. E.g. “The customer complained that the soup was cold”.

Moaned / Whined

This is similar to ‘complained’ but suggests that you think the person was being unreasonable / was complaining too much for the situation. E.g. “He was moaning about the boss telling him off again, but he was also 15 minutes late for work”. “She keeps whining about the cold. Why doesn’t she wear a coat?”

Hinted / Implied

This shows that the person didn’t use these exact words, but you think this is what they really meant. E.g. “My Mum hinted that I might get a car for Christmas” or “The school rules say you can’t take time off during term time, but my teacher implied that it would be okay”.

Suggested

If someone suggests that you do something, it’s like giving advice in a gentle way or saying that you have an idea. For example: “Kate suggested we try the new burger place on the corner”. It can also be used in a similar way to hinted, for example: “Dad suggested that Mum is still upset with me and I should apologise”.

Recommended

This is a slightly stronger way of giving advice than ‘suggested’. E.g. “My doctor recommended that I do more exercise to help me sleep better at night”, or “Sarah recommended that we stay at this hostel.”

Confessed / Admitted

If you confess something, you said it even though you are embarrassed, ashamed or you know that you will get into trouble. For example, “She confessed that she stole money from my wallet” or “He admitted that he knows all the words to every Backstreet Boys Song”.

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