500 Examples of dialog tags using different words for "said" - WriterWiki (2023)

This article presents a definitive list of dialog tag examples that you can use in yourwriting. "Dicho" is the word most used as a dialogue mark. However, there are many other words you can use to add more flavor and variety to your writing.

What is a dialog tag?

A dialog tag is a word or phrase that indicates the tone of voice used by the speaker. It is usually placed at the end of a line of dialogue and is followed by a punctuation mark such as an exclamation point, comma, colon, semicolon, or period. Some writers use an ellipsis for their dialogue tags, while others use a hyphen. In an email, a dialog tag can be used in the subject line for labeling purposes.


  • "I can't believe it," he said.
  • She spoke in a surprised tone.
  • She exclaimed, "I can't believe it."
  • She gasped, "I can't believe it!"

How to use dialog tags?

You must always remember that the dialog tag is a support for the dialog that must be mixed with it. It is not a "standalone" item, but an addition to the main line.

A dialog tag should be placed where it does not confuse readers as to who is speaking. It's important to note that you should never start a line of dialogue with "he said" or "she said". The only exception to this is when you are using "said" as dialogue sentences, so if you are describing what your character is doing then you should consider rephrasing or changing it.

  • "I'm coming, I'm coming," he said as he walked towards the door.
  • He shouted, "I'm coming, I'm coming." as he walked towards the door.

Note that in this example it is clear who is speaking because of the narrative tag.

You also need to make sure you are using the correct tone of voice for your dialog etiquette. There are some words that may not immediately indicate whether dialogue is being said in an angry, irritated, or agitated tone, so you might want to consider adding more cues to guide readers.

You should also remember to never use adverbial phrases at the beginning of a dialogue tag, as this can make your writing look clunky. The same goes for any other unnecessary words. In the following example, the dialog tag is detached from your dialog, making it difficult to follow:

  • "Nice to meet you," she said, holding out her hand.
  • She held out her hand and said, "Nice to meet you."
  • She smiled. "Pleasure to meet you."

The word "said" is the most common dialog tag, but other words can also be used. You can use any of the following synonyms in place of "said" if it better suits your character's tone of voice or the mood of thehistory.

  • Serious
  • sniffed
  • shouted
  • whispered softly / softly / softly
  • Shout out
  • replied calmly

Note that there are some forms of dialogue, such as plays, TV shows, and movies, where you never use dialogue labels, as it becomes clear who is speaking by looking at the character's face, movement, and actions.

  • "I love you," she said softly as she looked into his eyes.
  • "I love you." She looked into his eyes and smiled.

Whilewrite dialogueor prose, it's important to create a balanced rhythm between dialogue and narrative. Readers want dialogue to be short, snappy, and engaging so that theyavoid using too many descriptions at the beginninga line, as this makes it more difficult for readers to understand who is speaking. Using action beats or action tags between lines of dialogue can help with this.

Complete list of example dialog tags using other words for "said"

This detailed list is divided into three sections. In the first part, you'll find words that are often used in fiction writing, especially for novels. The second presents specific dialogue tags for different types of media, while the third section provides more examples of non-dialog tags that can be used in place of "said".

100 Dialogue Tags Frequently Used in Fiction Writing, with Examples

500 Examples of dialog tags using different words for "said" - WriterWiki (1)
  • Argument

Example: "I'm sorry to disagree", he argued.

  • Erased

Example: "I'm sorry," she blurted out.

  • boasted

Example: "Let me tell you the story of how I caught that fish," he bragged.

  • presumed

Example: “I used to be a great athlete back in high school,” he bragged.

  • Shout out

Example: "I'm not leaving until you let me see her," he yelled.

  • sung

Example: "One, two, three, four" he sang.

  • laughed / laughed happily / happily / happily

Example: He laughed softly. - She laughed happily. – he laughed happily.

  • packed

Example: She cooed softly. she whispered to the baby in her arms.

  • cried

Example: He yelled, "Stop!"

  • demanded/asked angrily

Examples: “What were you thinking about?” he demanded. - "Where is she?" he asked angrily.

  • ejaculated

Example: She ejaculated the words. The words escaped her lips like an accusation.

  • choked / (panted)

Example: She gasped in surprise.

  • to them


  1. They laughed softly.
  2. She laughed nervously.
  3. groaned


  1. He groaned in frustration.
  2. He groaned, "Oh God."
  3. growl/(grunt)

Example: He snarled, "You are a stupid asshole."

  • growled / snarled angrily / sullenly / irritated


  1. He took a deep breath.
  2. He growled impatiently.
  3. She growled softly.
  4. Reflected / (muse)

Example: She mused, "I wonder what happened."

  • grumbled / grumbled


  1. she murmured.
  2. he murmured politely.
  3. She murmured something in his ear softly.
  4. He said angry / (angry)

Example: He said fiercely. - He said angrily.

  • sigh / sighs


  1. He sighed, "It's over."
  2. She sighed dreamily.
  3. clicked/clicked


  1. She snapped at him.
  2. He growled in response.
  3. Mocked / (mocked)


  1. He scoffed disapprovingly.
  2. She scoffed, "You look ridiculous."
  3. Chisporroteo / (chisporroteo)

Example: She stammered, "It wasn't my intention."

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  • Scream/squeal/(sigh)/(scream)/scream/scream/(cry)/(cry)


  1. Her voice rose to a scream.
  2. She squealed with joy. - Scream in pain.
  3. competition


  1. She stammered nervously.
  2. He stuttered out the words.
  3. Whispered/whispered/(mumbled)/(mumbled)


  1. He whispered in her ear.
  2. She muttered under her breath.
  3. Screamed / (screamed)


  1. he yelled angrily.
  2. He screamed at the top of his lungs.

100 specific dialog tags for different forms of media, with examples

500 Examples of dialog tags using different words for "said" - WriterWiki (2)

Aged / aged dramatically / years in 10 seconds

Example: "I can't believe you're here," he gasped, aging years in 10 seconds.

Announced/dramatically announced/dramatic pause/(pause)

Example: He paused and dramatically announced, "I have something I need to tell you."

below / (below)


  1. The lion bared its teeth and howled fiercely.
  2. The coach yelled, "You're out of the game!"

Boasts (boasts)

Example: He bragged about his wealth and influence.

cacareado / (cacareo)


  1. The witch laughed maniacally.
  2. She laughed when she saw the look on his face.

chorou / (chorou)


  1. The woman screamed in pain.
  2. The king shouted, "Enough!"



  1. He whispered her name and it resonated in her soul.
  2. She repeated her words slowly, "Don't you love me anymore?"



  1. He sighed and started to explain.
  2. They exchanged dark glances, each silently explaining the unexplainable.

moan / moan / (moan)


  1. He groaned in frustration.
  2. She moaned loudly when she felt his hands on her body.
  3. The wounded man moaned but didn't open his eyes.

He growled / growled / (mumbles) / (mumbles)


  1. He complained to himself about the long journey.
  2. They murmured softly among themselves.



  1. The baby was giggling and gurgling happily.
  2. He chuckled and gurgled at the same time, making his wife laugh out loud.
  3. He laughed softly. He smiled and gurgled with pleasure.

howled / (howl)


  1. The dog howled at the moon in the night sky.
  2. The crowd howled outside the house of the innocents.

cantarolava/zumbia/(instrumental music)


  1. She hummed a familiar tune softly to herself.
  2. He played the music, humming.



  1. She laughed and replied, "I can't argue with that."
  2. They both laughed until their sides hurt.
  3. The prince laughed at his foolish brother.

high river


  1. He laughed out loud when he saw the joke in the magazine.
  2. He shook with laughter until his face turned red.


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  1. He muttered something into the air.
  2. She whispered softly to herself.
  3. They muttered prayers for their lives.



  1. He paused and began to reflect on a happy memory from his childhood.
  2. He pondered silently for a moment before speaking again.

grumbled / grumbled


  1. He muttered a curse under his breath as she lunged at him.
  2. He muttered his response resentfully, not looking at her.



  1. She panted in her sleep.
  2. He took a deep breath and continued running towards the horizon.



The house was infested with mice in the walls.

Played/Played/(Instrumental music)


  1. She played a sad song on her violin.
  2. He played the song, hitting all the right notes perfectly.

Asked / ask / (ask)


  1. He asked her about what she had seen in the forest.
  2. What was she trying to do by questioning him like that?

calm / calm / (calm)


  1. Her singing soothed the baby.
  2. He soothed her frayed nerves with a soft voice and an affectionate touch.

Rambling/rambling/(talks or talks fast without stopping)/(talks or talks fast without stopping)


  1. He rambled on about the people in his life until she stopped him.
  2. She rambled on about her day before going to bed.



  1. He responded with a shrug, "I don't know."
  2. She answered his unspoken question.



  1. The man yelled over the loud music.
  2. The baby screamed and cried when he saw a strange dog in front of his house.
  3. She yelled at him to get out of her way.



  1. She sighed and nodded, making her husband smile.
  2. She sighed heavily and lay down on the bed, exhausted from the day's work.



  1. He spoke calmly and confidently about what needed to be done next.
  2. He said something under his breath.
  3. She spoke up and said she was the only one who could help him.

Stuttered/stammered/(don't know what to say next)/(don't know what to say next)


  1. He stuttered out an answer.
  2. She was stuttering in shock and disbelief.

zombado / zombado


  1. The man provoked his opponent to get a reaction from him.
  2. He mocked the other man for his lack of success with women.

Whispered/(speak or speak softly)/(speak or speak softly)


  1. She whispered to herself and began to cry silently.
  2. They calmly talked about the events that took place.

cried / (cried or cried loudly)


  1. She moaned at her feet, begging him to come back to her.
  2. He wailed in agony after learning what happened to his best friend.


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  1. He yelled at his mother after seeing the man running towards him with a gun.
  2. He yells at his daughter when she breaks another vase.
  3. He screamed in his sleep and woke up the whole house.

List of non-dialog tags that can be used in place of "said".

1. General: murmured, exclaimed, stuttered, cried, protested.

2. Feelings: they screamed, groaned.

3. Sound: whistles, hiccups.

4. Physical actions: bumping into him/her/them/someone; collapsed on...; he murmured to...; took a look at…; smiled to…; Turned to…; pressed against ...; yelled at…; turned to...; pointed to...; jumped up/down/up/down etc.

5. Emotions: sighed with relief, laughed scornfully, smiled bitterly, cried bitterly.

6. Place or thing: whispered behind her hand, muttered something soft and bitter to herself under her breath, muttered an oath under her breath,

7. Time: grumbled, grumbled, rough, stuttered.

8. Thoughts/Images: He thought back to the day he met her and smiled to himself.

9. Physical sensations: Pain throbbed in her stomach like a pulse.

10. Actions or Movements: Nod; pink; He shook his head; He leaned forward...

11. Relationships/Character Traits: She looked at him with hate in her eyes.

12. Other Phrases (again the list is too long): “He lowered his voice to a whisper”/”He lowered his voice to a whisper”/”He raised his voice to a scream”/”She threw her head pulled back and laughed with delight”/”Her eyes burned with rage”/”Her face was lined with pain as she staggered home.”

Adverbs used as dialog tags without the word "said"

1. He Whispered: He whispered softly, "What do you think of the new girl?"

2. Muttered: He muttered something under his breath.

3. He yelled: He yelled at me and I didn't know what to say.

4. He Screamed: He screamed over the loud noises we were making.

5. Sniffed: Nathan sniffed and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand.

6. He shouted, “No!” she screamed, "Please don't do this."

7. He stuttered: He stuttered incoherently.

8. Laughter: She laughed.

9. Sighed: He sighed at the mention of his name.

10. Roared: He burst out laughing when he saw me jump in fright.

11. Sobbing: Sobbing into her handkerchief, unable to talk about it any longer.

12. Shouted: She shouted: "Get out!"

13. Choked: He gasped and his eyes widened in fear.

14. Laughter: The witch laughed at her misery and pain, saying that she deserved everything for being such a miserable girl.

15. Started: He started crying when I told him that my father had died.

16. Squeak: She yelled, "I hope you like it!" and she handed me a little box tied with a red ribbon.

17. Laughter: She laughed and looked away from him, focusing her eyes on the carpeted floor instead of his beautiful face.

18. Hissed: Hissed: "That's not what I meant!"

19. She cried: She cried out desperately, "Why?"

20. They screamed: They screamed and fled from her as far as possible.

21. Rasped: He took a deep breath and tried to sit up, but he could only prop himself up on his elbows.

22. Complained: She complained for him to stay with her forever.

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23. He huffed: He huffed at my suggestion to stay home tonight instead of going out with friends.

24. Whispered: She whispered, "Don't tell anyone, but I think you're really cool."

25. Choked: He choked and waved his hands frantically, trying to find the source of the water leak.

15 tips for using “said” and its synonyms correctly

1. Use the "said" tag whenever possible to maintain credibility and clarity, especially in emotional scenes.

2. The words that replace the saying must be carefully selected to avoid interrupting the narrative flow or making the dialogue melodramatic or awkward.

3. Use dialogue marks to establish who is speaking and how they sound (angry, hoarse, nervous).

4. The use of dialogue marks must create a distinction between two speaking characters.

5. Avoid using sayings and their synonyms too often (when possible). If you use the same word over and over, it will become annoying and distract your readers. While some say "said" is invisible and commonplace, others argue that it should be used whenever possible to maintain clarity; avoid interrupting the narrative flow; and because it makes good writing.

6. Use "said" in combination with adverbs like whispered, yelled, or snapped (see below for more on each) when you want to emphasize how something is said.

7. Use "replied" when you want to indicate that the dialogue is being quoted.

8. Use “exclaimed”, “screamed” and “screamed” when you really need the reader to notice that the dialogue was exaggerated or emphatic, but try not to overdo these tags because they will lose their power. .

9. Use "whispered" and "mumbled" when someone is speaking in a voice too low to hear, but use these tags sparingly because they really only work when there aren't many characters around or if some sort of secret is being shared.

10. Use the “question” tag when asking a direct question to someone who doesn't have the floor in the dialogue.

11. There is no need to tell readers that a character "sighed", "grumbled" or "answered" because these actions are implied by the words they use and can therefore be safely omitted from dialogue tags unless you want to emphasize how something is said or shared.

12. Use "giggles" and "giggles" when you want dialogue to sound awkward.

13. Use "started" and "continued" when a character starts talking, but remember that these verbs don't always work because they are easily confused with dialogue marks that indicate who is speaking. For example, if a character says "Well..." and another character follows that thought with "I don't know", the reader can assume it was the first character who said "Okay".

14. Use “asked” when asking a direct question to someone who has no voice in the dialogue.

15. If there are many characters involved in the dialogue, avoid using “answered” unless you make it clear whose turn it is to speak, or use said with the name of the person who has the floor.





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