When we refer to something someone else has previously spoken or written, we usually differentiate between the spoken and written word with the verb introducing the quote or paraphrase:

In his speech at Cooper Union, Abraham Lincoln said, "Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed."


In the letter to Trebonius, Cicero wrote, "How I could wish that you had invited me to that most glorious banquet on the Ides of March!"

I've noticed when writing online in conversation-like settings, such as comments threads or text chats, I almost invariably use said rather that wrote:

Q: what time is the party

A: same as i said before. 7:30.

When I take the time to redraft—something I do with comments, but not with chats—I always wrestle with these. I change said to wrote, but when used to refer back to words in "chatty" media, it just reads wrong to me.

It seems as if some intangible but intrinsic quality attaches to various media, spurring me to prefer write for referring to emails, long-form blog posts, essays, articles, and papers, but say for back-and-forth comments and chats.

Is my intuition about this shared by others? Would you bristle at seeing my comment,

...as I said in a comment yesterday...

or would this not bother you? Should I try forcing myself to substitute wrote for said whenever referring to words not spoken aloud?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Canis Lupus, RegDwigнt Oct 1 '14 at 21:40

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Although Collins lists the 'by mouth' sense for 'say' first, it gives the general word-based communication second: say: 1. to speak, pronounce, or utter 2. (also intr) to express (an idea) in words ... // To specify the actual medium of communication, one might well say: 'As I said in my email on Thursday, ...'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 1 '14 at 20:21
  • Citing a dictionary definition and stating why it didn't help are pretty much minimal requirements for questions like this. To write is one way to say something, and narrows down how the thought was expressed. To say is not so definitive. A more useful question might be how can I express the verbal meaning of "to say" in as few words as possible? – Canis Lupus Oct 1 '14 at 20:37
  • @CanisLupus "How can I express the verbal meaning of 'to say' in as few words as possible?" But that isn't my question. If my question isn't well-phrased, I'm happy to take advice on how to rewrite it, but telling me to ask a different question isn't helpful. – Trey Oct 1 '14 at 21:07
  • Putting my comment more plainly, then - your question does not show the minimal amount of effort expected to show that you have performed your own research that leads anyone to understand why that research puts you in your irreconcilable position. Refer to the help center, specifically the topic there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.” and the subject on commonly available references. Rewriting your question may avoid this. – Canis Lupus Oct 1 '14 at 21:35
  • I write, you have all but answered your own question by writing you'd have to force yourself. If it doesn't come naturally, then what you're trying to do is unnatural. – RegDwigнt Oct 1 '14 at 21:47