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When writing a declarative sentence, the most common word used is probably “say”. Others like “state”, “shout” and “cry” also appear frequently. In my composition, there is this one sentence:

”Hear me, hear me.” I said. “For we must not make such a rash decision.”

I know that adding the word “say” reflects an inferior level of writing, but I find it hard to find a more accurate alternative.

I have looked for synonyms on Merriam Webster thesaurus. The fitting definition in this case would be:

to express (a thought or emotion) in words

Synonyms given under this definition include:

articulate, bring out, enunciate, pass, speak, state, talk, tell, utter, verbalize, vocalize

In my opinion, “state” is the only one that is close to being accurate. The rest does not exactly fit into the sentence.

Hence my question: with reference to the context of the example sentence given, which word alternates “say” accurately?

Thank you.

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  • Welcome to ELU. You have two questions here: one asking for "precise and powerful" synonyms of say; the other asking for a name for "this kind of word". Please (a) show your research in a thesaurus: what have you found and why did you reject them; (b) define "precise and powerful"; (c) ask only one question at once. But for the second question please define "this kind of word" -- what kind are you talking about? Please check our help for this sort of question.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 28 at 13:02
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    "I said" is not inferior writing. If that's what you need, you say it. Twisting yourself in trying to substitute the right word with another word ends with distorted language, she intimated. Jul 28 at 13:29
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    Some writers make a point of always using said rather than constantly looking for variants. Whether or not you agree with that style, there is nothing 'inferior' about it. Jul 28 at 14:29
  • @KateBunting I've heard the opposite approach called "said-bookism", where the author's efforts to avoid using "say" or "said" ends up being very distracting indeed.
    – user888379
    Jul 28 at 15:44

3 Answers 3

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Since you begin with a repetitive imperative, it seems you persistently ask for the attention of your interlocutors.

There are plenty of reporting verbs you can use, depending on the other nuances you wish to convey. Say, indeed, can be rather plain. In your sentence, you could use insisted or why not entreated, if it is appropriate to your context.

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  • Thank you! A very constructive piece of help. Insisted is what I’m looking for, and I finally know the name of this kind of verbs - reporting verbs.
    – user459198
    Jul 28 at 13:41
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There are a great number of possibilities that depend on the special way in which you are saying what precedes, as well as on the circumstances.

  • "Hear me, hear me." I urged.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I intimated.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I supplied.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I lamented.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I vociferated.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I whispered.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I whined.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I cut in.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I butted in.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I intervened.
  • "Hear me, hear me." I interceded.

The more expressive manner to formulate this consists in using one verb such as those in the list and modifying them with an adverbial or an adjective.

  • "Hear me, hear me." I said insistingly, …
  • "Hear me, hear me." I urged, breathless,…
  • "Hear me, hear me." I intimated shortly, …
  • "Hear me, hear me." I supplied hesitatingly
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  • Wow! Such a wide coverage of report verbs. Thank you, this is very helpful for my future writing.
    – user459198
    Jul 28 at 13:42
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    You wouldn't use a comma? "Hear me, hear me," I urged. Jul 28 at 13:45
  • @YosefBaskin Yes, I think it is more usual if not the only way. Personally, I'd rather place it after the quote, though.
    – LPH
    Jul 28 at 15:24
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Well first of all "Say" does not indicate an inferior level of writing, rather how you use it. 60% of the time, you're gonna use it, because otherwise you could disrupt the reader's flow of read, especially using words that are a little complex. Simplicity is the most important in writing.

Stated should never be used rather it's too specific. The question you should ask yourself, is HOW he/she is saying it.

Is the person angry, perhaps....

"I growled." "I snarled."

Or is it a little more than simple anger.

"I retorted." "I remarked."

Others have listed some good suggestions before. You can also do... "I said, begrudgingly." Mainly, the dialogue will help inflict the emotion you're looking for, so anything other than "said", you're only using things like "Growled", "Urged", "Cut in" to be more specific.

Cut in is a way of saying the person had interrupted, though typically used more for screenwriting. Typically, when I see growled, its usually a low and quieter angry comment, but not quite whispering angrily. Snarled is essentially the version of growled that inflects yelling, so the dialogue will be followed by an exclamation point, naturally.

I.E "You dare question me!" I snarled. ("You dare question me?" I growled.)

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