October 13, 2012

Said By T. L Wiens

Recently, there’s been a movement to strike all other words that describe a spoken word in written form and only use “said.” The reasoning I’ve heard for this movement are:
People don’t notice “said.”
Other words are “telling” words.
I don’t know who decided that “said” is an invisible word but they are wrong! It’s also a telling word.

I had the pleasure, and I say this tongue in cheek, of revising a manuscript in which the author only used “said.” The piece read like a Dick and Jane story without pictures. I’ll admit there are other issues with this author’s writing skills but every dialogue was “he said,” “she said,” covering pages of writing. It was boring and unimaginative. Readers need to see the picture and that takes more than using “said” as a dialogue tag. Why do we take away from the English language in the first place? It's so limited in comparison to other languages to begin with.

I see parallels with my Christian walk and my writing ministry. I can say I’m a Christian and quote scripture but at some point there has to be a picture—my life has to show the meaning of the words. I have to live my faith.

So whether it’s in a manuscript or in living, “said” may not always do the job and is definitely not invisible.


  1. Hi Tammy,

    I like how you applied this to our lives, too! We have to show our words by our actions. Clever application!

    Pam M.

  2. It's interesting how trends come and go. Jane Austin or the Bronte sisters never would have made it today... still their writing continues to delight across the centuries. I remember being instructed to use lots of adverbs and to basically avoid 'said' unless absolutely necessary. Now the reverse is true... I think it boils down to an engaging story

  3. I also am frustrated with the shifting fashion of writing. People seem so dogmatic about word usage, even if it doesn't make sense. Same goes for secondary issues in Christianity. People fight tooth and nail about when Christ will return. Who cares? The fact that he'll return ought to get us excited, not when.

  4. I agree with you Bruce,
    I'm tired of the fear.We are not to have a spirit of fear but of boldness. Why aren't believers working at spreading the message of Jesus Christ rather than building bomb shelters of both a physical and spiritual nature?


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.