This article provides a definitive list of dialog tag examples that you can use in yourWrite. "Said" is the word most often used as a dialogue tag. However, there are many other words that you can use to add flavor and variety to your writing.
What is a dialog tag?
A dialogue tag is a word or phrase that indicates the intonation of the speaker. It is usually placed at the end of a line of dialogue, followed by a punctuation mark such as an exclamation point, comma, colon, semicolon, or period. Some authors 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 tagging.
- "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 should always remember that the dialog tag is a support for the dialog that you need to blend in with it. Not a "standalone" item, but an addition to the main line.
A dialogue tag should be placed in such a way that 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 use "said" as both dialogue sentences. So if you find yourself describing what your character is doing, consider rephrasing or changing it.
- "I'm coming, I'm coming," he said as he headed for the door.
- He yelled, "I'm coming, I'm coming," as he walked to the door.
Note that in this example it is clear who is speaking due to the narrative tag.
You also need to make sure that you are using the correct tone of voice for your dialog etiquette. There are some words that can't immediately indicate whether the dialogue is being said in an angry, irritated, or excited tone, so you should consider adding more clues to guide readers.
You should also remember to never use adverbial phrases at the beginning of a dialogue tag, as it can make your writing feel clunky. The same applies to all other unnecessary words. In the example below, the dialog tag is separate 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. "I'm glad to meet you".
The word "said" is the most common dialog tag, but there are other words that can be used. You can use any of the following synonyms instead of "said" if it better suits your character's tone of voice or mood.History.
- softly/softly/quietly whispered
- calmly answered
Note that there are some forms of dialogue, such as plays, TV shows, and movies, where you never use dialogue tags because it's already 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 is important to create a balanced rhythm between dialogue and narration. Readers want dialogue to be short, snappy, and engaging.avoid too many descriptions at the beginningone 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.
Full list of dialogue tag examples with other words for "said"
This detailed list is divided into three sections. In the first part you will find words that are commonly used when writing fiction, especially novels. The second contains specific dialog tags for different media types, while the third section provides more examples of non-dialogue tags that can be used in place of "said".
100 Frequently Used Dialogue Etiquettes in Fiction Writing, With Examples
Example: "I don't think so," he argued.
Example: "I'm sorry," he snapped.
Example: "Let me tell you the story of how I caught this fish," he boasted.
Example: "I was a great athlete in my school days," he boasted.
Example: "I'm not leaving until you let me see her," he yelled.
Example: "One, two, three, four," he sang.
- Giggle/learned cheerful/happy/cheerful
Example: He laughed softly. – She laughed happily. She – she laughed happily.
Example: She cooed softly. – She whispered to the baby in her arms.
Example: He yelled, "Stop!"
- Angry demanded / asked
Examples: "What were you thinking?" he prompted. - "Where is she?" he asked angrily.
Example: She ejaculated the words. The words slipped from her lips like an accusation.
- gasped / (gasped)
Example: She gasped in surprise.
- laughed / laughed
- They laughed softly.
- She giggled nervously.
- He groaned in frustration.
- He groaned, "Oh, God."
Example: He growled: "You are a stupid idiot."
- Complaining/complaining angry/grumpy/irritated
- He took a deep breath.
- He growled impatiently.
- She complained to herself.
- Thoughtful / (Muse)
Example: She considered, "I wonder what happened."
- mumbled / mumbled
- she muttered.
- He muttered politely.
- He murmured something softly in her ear.
- He said angry/(angry)
Example: He said fiercely. – He said angrily.
- sighed / sighed
- He sighed, "It's over."
- She sighed dreamily.
- broken / snatched
- She snapped at him.
- He growled in response.
- taunt / (taunt)
- He smiled disapprovingly.
- She sneered, "You look ridiculous."
Example: You stammered: "I didn't mean to."
- Her voice rose to a shriek.
- She squealed with pleasure. – She screamed in pain.
- She stammered nervously.
- He stuttered the words.
- He whispered in her ear.
- She murmured softly.
- he yelled angrily.
- He screamed at the top of his lungs.
100 specific dialog tags for different forms of media, with examples
Aged / dramatically aged / years in 10 seconds
Example: "I can't believe you're here," he gasped, aging years in 10 seconds.
Announced/dramatic announced/dramatic break/(break)
Example: He paused and dramatically announced, "I have something to tell you."
roared / (down)
- The lion bared his teeth and howled wildly.
- The coach yelled, "You're out of the game!"
Example: He boasted of his wealth and influence.
- The witch laughed madly.
- She laughed at the look on his face.
- The woman screamed in pain.
- The king shouted: "Enough!"
- He whispered her name and it resonated in her soul.
- She slowly repeated his words, "Don't you love me anymore?"
Explained / explained / (explanation)
- He sighed and began to explain.
- They exchanged grim glances, each silently explaining the inexplicable.
- He groaned in frustration.
- She moaned out loud when she felt his hands on her body.
- The wounded man groaned but did not open his eyes.
- He complained to himself about the long journey.
- They murmured softly to each other.
- The baby was giggling and gurgling happily.
- He laughed and gargled at the same time, making his wife laugh out loud.
- He chuckled softly. Her – she smiled and gurgled with pleasure.
howled / (howled)
- The dog howled at the moon in the night sky.
- The mob howled in front of the house of the innocents.
- She softly hummed a tune familiar to herself.
- He played the song and hummed.
- She laughed and replied, "I can't disagree."
- They both laughed until their sides ached.
- The prince laughed at his foolish brother.
laugh out loud
- He laughed out loud when he saw the joke in the magazine.
- She trembled with laughter until her face turned red.
- He muttered something into the air.
- She whispered softly to herself.
- They murmured prayers for their lives.
Thoughtful / Muse / (thinking) / (thinking)
- He paused and began to think of a happy memory from his childhood.
- He thought silently for a moment before speaking again.
mumbled / mumbled
- He muttered a curse under his breath when she snapped at him.
- He muttered his answer angrily without looking at her.
- She gasped in her sleep.
- He took a breath and kept running towards the horizon.
The house was infested with mice in the walls.
Played / played / (instrumental song)
- She played a sad tune on her violin.
- He played the song and hit all the right notes perfectly.
Questioned / question / (ask)
- He asked her about what she had seen in the forest.
- What was she trying to do by questioning him like that?
Calm down/calm down/(calm down)
- Her singing calmed the baby.
- He calmed her tense nerves with a soft voice and a loving touch.
Rambled / Ramble / (talk or talk fast without a pause) / (talk or talk fast without a pause)
- He kept babbling on about the people in his life until she stopped him.
- She rambled on about her day before retiring for the night.
- He responded with a shrug: "I don't know."
- She answered his unspoken question.
- The man yelled over the loud music.
- The baby screamed and cried when he saw a strange dog in front of his house.
- She yelled at him to get out of her way.
- She sighed and nodded, making her husband smile.
- She sighed heavily and lay back on the bed, exhausted from the day's work.
spoke / speaks / (says) / (says)
- He spoke calmly and confidently about what to do next.
- He said something softly.
- She spoke up and said that she was the only one who could help him.
He stuttered/stammered/(not sure what to say next)/(not sure what to say next)
- He stammered out a reply.
- She stammered in shock and disbelief.
- The man taunted his opponent to get a reaction out of him.
- He made fun of the other man for his lack of success with women.
Whispered / (speak or speak softly) / (speak or speak softly)
- She whispered to herself and began to cry softly.
- They talked quietly about the events that had happened.
Whine/(cry or cry out loud)
- She moaned at her feet and begged him to come back to her.
- He howled in agony after hearing what happened to his best friend.
- He yelled at his mother when he saw the man coming towards him with a gun.
- She yells at her daughter as she breaks another vase.
- He screamed in his sleep and woke up the whole house.
List of non-dialogue tags that can be used in place of "said".
1. General: muttered, yelled, stammered, cried, protested.
2. Emotions: squealed, moaned.
3. Sound: hissing, sobbing.
4. Physical actions: bumping into him/her/it/one; collapsed on…; she muttered to...; she took a look at…; smiled...; Turned to…; pressed against her…; he yelled at...; he turned to…; pointed to…; He jumped up/down/up/down etc.
5. Emotions: sighed with relief, sneered, smiled grimly, cried bitterly.
6. Place or thing: whispered behind his hand, muttered something soft and bitter under his breath, softly muttered a curse,
Seventh time: muttered, growled, squawked, cackled.
8. Thoughts/Images: He thought about the day he met her and smiled to himself.
9. Physical sensations: Pain throbbed in her stomach like a pulse.
10. Actions or movements: Nodded; Pink; He shook his head; she leaned forward...
11. Relationships/Character Traits: She looked at him with disgust in her eyes.
12. Other phrases (again, the list is very 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 back and laughed with joy" / "His eyes flashed with anger" / "His face was filled with pain as he stumbled into his house."
Adverbs used as dialogue tags without the word "said"
1. He whispered: He whispered softly: "What do you think of the new girl?"
2. Muttered: He mumbled something under his breath.
3. He yelled: He yelled at me and I didn't know what to say.
4. He yelled: He yelled over the loud noises we made.
5. Smell: Nathan sniffed and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand.
6. He shouted: "No!" She yelled, "Please don't do that."
7. He stammered: He stammered incoherently.
8. Giggles: She giggled.
9. Sighed: He sighed at the mention of his name.
10. Roared: He roared with laughter when he saw me wince.
11. Sobbing: She was sobbing into her handkerchief, unable to talk about it any longer.
12. Shouted: She yelled, "Get out!"
13. Panting: He was panting and his eyes widened in fear.
14. Laughter: The witch laughed at her misery and pain and said that she deserved it all because she was such a miserable girl.
15. Started: She started crying when I told her that my father had died.
16. Tweeted: She tweeted: "I hope you like it!" and she handed me a small box tied with a red ribbon.
17. Giggles: She giggled 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. Screamed: She desperately screamed, "Why?"
20. They screamed: They screamed and ran from her as far as they could.
21. Scraped: He gasped and tried to sit up but only managed to prop himself up on his elbows.
22. Complained: She lamented that he would stay with her forever.
23. Annoyed: He was annoyed by my suggestion that he stay home tonight instead of going out with friends.
24. Whispered: Whispered: "Don't tell anyone, but I think you're very nice."
25. Panting: He was panting and waving 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 as often as possible to maintain believability and clarity, especially in emotional scenes.
2. Words that replace what is said must be chosen carefully so as not to interrupt the flow of the narrative or make the dialogue seem melodramatic or awkward.
3. Use dialogue tags to determine who is speaking and how they sound (angry, hoarse, nervous).
4. The use of dialogue tags should create a distinction between two speaking characters.
5. Avoid using sayings and their synonyms too often (if possible). Using the same word over and over again becomes tedious and distracting for readers. While some say that "said" is invisible and unobtrusive, others argue that it should be used as often as possible to maintain clarity; so as not to interrupt the flow of the narrative; and because it makes good writing.
6. Use "said" in combination with adverbs like "whispered," "shouted," or "snatched" (see below for more on each) when you want to emphasize how something is said.
7. Use "answered" if you want to indicate that the dialogue is quoted.
8. Use "exclaimed," "screamed," and "screamed" if you really want the reader to notice that the dialogue was exaggerated or said emphatically, but try not to overdo it with these tags, or they'll break your strength. .
9. Use "whispered" and "mumbled" when someone is speaking too quietly, but use these tags sparingly, as they really only work when there aren't many characters around or when a secret is being shared.
10. Use the "Asked" tag when asking a direct question to someone who isn't speaking in the dialogue.
11. It is not necessary to tell readers that a character "sighed," "mumbled," or "responded," as these actions are implicit in the words used and are therefore safe to omit in dialogue tags, unless unless you want to emphasize how something is said or shared.
12. Use "giggles" and "giggles" when you want the dialogue to be awkward.
13. Use "began" and "continued" when a character has started speaking, but remember that these verbs don't always work, as they are easily confused with dialogue tags indicating who is speaking. For example, if a character says "Well..." and then another character follows that thought with "I don't know", the reader might assume that they were the first character to say "Okay".
14. Use "Asked" when asking a direct question to someone who is not speaking in the dialogue.
15. When many people are involved in a dialogue, avoid using "responses" unless you are clarifying who is next or use "said" with the name of the person doing so.
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