Dealing with the verb of attribution

Said will do starts: “Use the verb said when you report someone’s words”. It is the best verb of attribution. 

Said is a wise choice of word for journalists. It is neutral and judgement free. This makes it a safe and accurate choice.

A simple word like said is readily understood and unambiguous — always a sign of good writing.

You might choose something else if you’re writing poetry, literature or fiction, but for everyday writing use the simplest option. Your readers will thank you.

Boring is a trap

Don’t let people tell you sticking with said makes your writing boring. Nor should you listen to those who tell you said is overused.

Boring is sitting through a defamation action because someone misinterpreted an alternative word.

Boring is when a reader needs to look up the meaning of an alternative word.

Readers can misunderstand almost every alternative to said.

This is just between us

The term ‘verb of attribution’ is correct but, outside of academic discussions about language, not the best phrase to use.

Verb of attribution‘ is the kind of language that puts readers off, even when they know what it means.

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