Improve your Vocabulary: Words to Replace Said

January 17, 2017

The Oxford English Dictionary is constantly expanding and evolving, with approximately 1,000 new entries each year. A long-standing feature of the dictionary, the word ‘said’ has been used by English-speaking people for centuries as an adjective to convey speech. Usually, ‘said’ is a go-to word, a word which is safe to use in several different scenarios. But safe is boring. This article will explain how broadening your vocabulary will broaden your horizons and suggest words to replace ‘said’.

Why you Should Vary the Language you Use

Rightly or wrongly, a more varied and expansive vocabulary invariably leads to success. You should aspire to learn as many different English words as you can for the following reasons:

It improves your English language skills

When you begin to introduce new words into your written and spoken English, it enhances your dialogue and copy, making it more descriptive, engaging and expressive. By adopting alternatives to ‘said’, you can effectively and accurately express events.

For example:

If you were feeling bad-tempered and irritable because you were feeling hungry (us Brits call this ‘hangry’), you are more likely to moan, exclaim or snap than you are to simply ‘say’ something.

“I am so hungry, I could eat a horse!” I said.

“I am so hungry, I could eat a horse!” I moaned as my stomach rumbled.

It will impress your peers, colleagues and teachers

Whether you are studying English at one of our English Language Schools, preparing to give a presentation, or simply looking to talk with the locals, broadening your vocabulary and varying your speech will both impress and make you instantly appear more learned and well read.

How you Can Improve your Vocabulary

Expanding your English word base is, although a slow process, an incredibly achievable goal. As with any language, it is impossible to know every single word in the English language (even natives struggle to keep up with the ever-changing language). However, there are several interesting and exciting ways to give your vocabulary a boost:

– Listen and sing along to British music on the radio. Find your favourite British radio station by browsing through the comprehensive collection on
– Read anything and everything. Whether you like to read about politics, sports or fantasy, there are a plethora of resources available from newspapers to novels.
– Mix with as many native English speakers as you can and adopt some of the language they use.

Alternatives to Said

There are numerous, unique alternatives to ‘said’. Here are five examples from our favourite novels to get you started:


“‘He is dead!’ Narcissa Malfoy called to the watchers.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows



“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”
“And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”
“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is wilfully to misunderstand them.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice



“Hateful day when I received life!’ I exclaimed in agony. ‘Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.”

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein



“Finished…” she murmured, as if puzzling over the word.

Sarah Waters, Fingersmith



“Your tale is of the longest,” observed Monks, moving restlessly in his chair.

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist


If you are interested in learning more about the English language, read our blog or contact us today to see how one of our English courses could help you improve your English language skills.