Synonyms for "Said"

Other words for reporting speech (Indirect Speech)

 

speaker
 

 

Say, Tell, Add —complements

SUBJECT + VERB INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUN QUOTE  / THAT  OR INFIN CLAUSE

A number of verbs express a meaning of "say".  The verbs differ slightly in meaning, and  in the way they are complemented.

Some verbs are complemented by an indirect object, while others optionally include a prepositional phrase with "to".

The verb complement may be a noun phrase, quoted speech, an infinitive clause, a that-clause, and sometimes a prepositional phrase.

SUBJECT SAID PREP PHRASE (optional) QUOTE / THAT

said

 

to me,

to me

 

"It is nearby."

that it was nearby.

 

SUBJECT TOLD INDIRECT OBJECT  QUOTE / THAT / INFIN

told

 

me,

me

 

"It is nearby."

that it was nearby. 

to look nearby. 

about her work. 

SUBJECT ADD VERBS NONE QUOTE

added,

added

 

 

"It is nearby."

that it was nearby.

A comma separates a statement before a quote: He said, "Hello".

 

 

About "complements"

  1. Some verbs require complements to complete their meaning: She spoke.  (complete).  She said.  (incomplete)   
  2. Some verbs can be complemented by a number of structures:  She told me. (IO)  She told me her story.  (IO, DO)  She told her story to me. (DO, PP)  She told me that she was happy. (IO, Clause)
  3. An indirect object (the receiver of the action) — can be a name John, a noun the man  or a personal pronoun  you, him, her, them, us.
  4. The receiver of the action can also be expressed as a prepositional phrase with "to" to you, to him, to her, to them, to us, to John, to the class
  5. Longer phrases or clauses are placed after the indirect object:  She told me that she would be leaving soon. 
  6. Shorter phrases are placed before the indirect object (expressed as 'to'):  She told the news to me. 

 

NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; DO – direct object; IO – indirect object;

Also see Direct objects  Indirect Objects   Say / Tell  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synonyms for "Say"

Said List

 

 

 

Verbs similar to Said (64)

SAID DEFINITION IN CONTEXT

acknowledged (to him)

admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth, or fact of something

He acknowledge his mistake to me.  (formal)

admitted (to him)

allow or concede (give in) as truth

They finally conceded that we were right.

announced (to him)

make something known publicly or officially; proclaim; give notice of something

The couple announced their baby's birth.

babbled (to him)

utter sounds or words imperfectly, indistinctly, or without meaning

The baby babbled something to us.

blurted (to him)

utter suddenly or inadvertently; divulge impulsively or unadvisedly

He suddenly blurted his secret to me.

boasted (to him)

speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself

They boasted about their football team.

bragged (to him)

speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself

They bragged to us about their children.

chuckled (to him)

laugh softly or amusedly, usually with satisfaction

He chuckled to himself as he watch the comedy show.

claimed (to him)

state with confidence, strongly, positively, something to be true or right

He claimed to us that he was the rightful owner.

commented (to him)

add a remark, observation, or criticism

He commented to me that he enjoyed my writing.

complained (to him)

express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, find fault:

He complained to them about the lack of hot water.

confided (to him)

discuss or share private matters, secrets or problems

She confided to me a secret about herself.

declared (to him)

make known or state clearly, especially in formal terms

She declared to me that she was old enough to make her own decisions.

denied (to him)

state that something (others believe is true) is not true

He denied to us that he was looking for a new job.

described (to him)

take a visual impression and put it in spoken or written words

He described to us his visit to Disneyland.

dictated (to him)

tell, with authority, another person what to do in detail; command ("micro-manage")

He dictated to us what we had to do that morning.

echoed (to him)

repeat ideas or opinions of another person in same or similar words

My father echoed to us what my mother had said earlier.

emphasized (to him)

lay stress or put importance of something

They emphasized to us that honesty came first.

exclaimed (to him)

cry out or speak suddenly, strongly, with surprise

She exclaimed to us that she was not the owner of the dog.

explained (to him)

make plain or clear, understandable

They explained their plan to us.

expressed (to him)

put into words, utter, state, reveal

He expressed his anger to us.

giggled (to him)

laugh in a high-pitch way, sometimes from amusement, nervousness, embarrassment

The children giggle in the corner when the stranger walked in.

growled (to him)

utter a deep sound (from the back of the mouth) of anger or hostility (dog-like)

He growled to us that he hated "cute".

hinted (to him)

give an indirect suggestion or a clue

He hinted to us that the movie had an unexpected ending.

hissed (to him)

make a sharp letter s sound expressing disapproval or contempt (snake-like)

The audience hissed to them their disapproval.

howled (to him)

make a long, mournful, sound (wolf-like)

The child howled to her mother when she put her in her room.

indicated (to him)

point out, direct attention to, make known

They  indicated to us their disapproval of our way of dressing.

lied (to him)

say something that is  not true

He lied to us about his age.

mentioned (to him)

refer to briefly, speak about something in passing (not the focus of the conversation)

He mentioned to her that he had seen her ex-husband.

muttered (to him)

say in a low voice, uncleanly as if talking to oneself

She muttered to her self that she always had to do the "dirty work".

moaned (to him)

a long, low sound of suffering

She moaned to us that she had to much homework to do.

mumbled (to him)

speak in a low, unclear manner, (may be unsure of an answer and hoping to pass)

He mumbled the words to his teacher in French.

murmured (to him)

a low sounding, unclear, indistinct voice

She murmured to him as she fell asleep.

muttered (to him)

a low sounding, unclear, indistinct voice

She muttered to herself as she worked.

pleaded (to him)

a serious request for aid, support or time

He pleaded to his boss for just one more chance to improve his work.

pointed out (to him)

indicate, direct attention to, make known, reveal

The lawyer pointed out to the court the error.

prayed (to God)

to ask for divine assistance

They prayed to God for safe passage.

ranted (to him)

talk in a wild, crazy or possibly violent way

He ranted to them about the theft of his computer.

related (to him)

tell, narrate, recount

He related his story to us.

remarked (to him)

say casually, make a comment (in passing, not the focus)

He remarked to us that our dog looked like a wolf.

repeated (to him)

say again

She repeated the password to us.

reported (to him)

tell or describe an event in detail

The journalist reported the events of the day at the court house.

replied (to him)

give an answer in spoken or written words

The landlord replied to us regarding our requests.

responded (to him)

give an answer in spoken or written words

She responded to me that I should call back later.

restated (to him)

say again with different words or in a new way

She restated to the child that there were no more, zero, cookies.

revealed (to him)

make known, uncover, disclose, divulge

He revealed to us that he disliked chocolate.

roared (to him)

utter with a deep, loud sound (like a lion)

Father roared his orders to us.

screamed (to him)

utter a loud, sharp, high-pitched, sound

The woman screamed to us when she needed help.

screeched (to him)

utter a loud, sharp, high-pitched, sound (birdlike, owl)

The unhappy child screeched to us to pick her up.

shouted (to him)

speak out with a loud, strong and clear  voice (sometimes across a long distance)

He shouted to me not to forget to take the parking brake off.

shrieked

utter a loud, sharp, high-pitched, sound (bird-like, ghost-like)

The witch shrieked her name to us.

sobbed (to him)

cry, weep, catching one's breath in between

She sobbed to us that she had lost her home and family.

sputtered (to him)

utter words explosively (often in anger or frustration (sputter like an old car engine)

He sputtered the situation to us.

stated (to him)

say clearly, definitely, specifically

She stated her mission to the committee.

sighed (to him)

sat under one's breath, very quietly (as from tiredness, sadness or relief)

She sighed to herself then fell asleep.

squawked (to him)

utter a loud, harsh cry (like a crow, duck or other frightened bird)

She squawked her orders to us.

squeaked (to him)

a short, sharp, cry; a sharp, high-pitched sound (mouse-like)

She squeaked her name to us.

uttered (to him)

let out, sound, pronounce, say

He uttered a curse to us and left.

vowed (to him)

promise; state something will be observed

They vowed to each other to honor their marriage.

wailed (to him)

utter a mournful (sorrowful, sad) cry

She wailed to her mother as the car drove away.

whispered (to him)

speak in soft sounds, without using the voice (vocal chords)

He whispered his secret to me.

whined (to him)

utter a long, nasal-sounding, complaining cry

He whined to us about how unfair the world is.

yelled (to him)

speak out with a loud, strong and clear  voice (angrily)

He yelled to us to come back and finish.

Note that the meanings vary in levels of loudness ("shouted") , pitch ("shrieked") , strength ("burst") , emotion ("whined") , clarity ("mumbled") , and formality ("announced") .  Many share animal-like qualities ("howled", "barked", "snorted", "snickered").

Use the COCA  database to check contextual use for the above verbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synonyms for "Tell"

Told List

 

 

 

Verbs similar to Told (12)

TOLD DEFINITION IN CONTEXT

advised   (him)

give opinion, suggest action based on experience, knowledge or expertise

My counselor advised me to try a class. (that I should try a class.)

assured (him)

tell confidently, positively

He assured me that he was right. 

asked (him)

question; inquire

They asked me the reason.

cautioned (him)

warn, tell about danger

They cautioned us to be careful. (that we be careful.)

convinced (him)

move a person with reasoning to agreement

They convinced us to stay.

informed (him) 

give knowledge, facts, information

He informed us about the road closure.

instructed (him) 

teach, train, educate; inform

He instructed us to eat better.

lectured  (him)

express disapproval, reprimand; give a long speech

The officer lectured us on safe driving

notified  (him)

inform, give notice about

They notified us about their change of address.

reassured (him)

restore confidence

He reassured us that no one would get hurt.

told  (him)

give an account or narration

He told us his life story.

warned  (him)

caution, tell about danger

We warned them not to walk at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synonyms for "Add"

Added List

 

 

 

Verbs similar to Added (60)

ADDED DEFINITION IN CONTEXT

added   

give additional information  

He added that he is looking forward to it.  

affirm  

 state positively that something is true

He affirmed that everything was fine. / the plan.

agreed  

give approval

He agreed that we should continue.

answered  

reply,  respond

He answered that did not know "that" woman.

approved  

speak favorably about

He approved that they were applying to college.

argued  

 state reasons against something 

He argued that we were wrong.

asserted  

state with confidence, force, assurance

He asserted that the climate was changing.

assumed  

state that something is true without proof or research 

He assumed that everyone already knew the situation.

barked  

 say something in a sharp, harsh way (dog-like)

He barked that everyone had to try harder.

bellowed  

 utter a loud, low animal cry (bull-like)

He bellowed that we were acting like children.

bargained  

  tell terms of negotiation; bargain 

He bargained that he would buy one hundred items if the seller lowered his price.

began  

start, commence speaking

He began that he had gotten his first job in the mail room of the company

begged  

ask for help or support; ask someone to do something

He begged that we stay a little longer.

cajoled  

persuade by flattering or offering promises

He cajoled that she give him another chance.

clarify  

make an idea, statement, clear, intelligible

He clarified that he had not dated her but had met her once or twice for coffee.

cited  

quote, mention in support (as proof)

He cited that Newsweek had used the term "information superhighway" as early as 1983.

commanded¹  

order, require (from an authority)

He commanded that we leave immediately.

confirmed  

 state positively that something is true

He confirmed  that we had a deal.

cried  

speak out emotionally, usually with grief or suffering

He cried that he was treated unfairly.

decided  

conclude, solve or settle something

He decide that we should continue the project.

drawled  

say in a slow way that lengthens vowel sounds

He drawled that he was a native of Mississippi.  

demanded¹  

order, command, say as an authority

He demanded that we do as he wanted.

estimated  

make a judgment or give opinion on worth

He estimated that the house was worth $30,000.

enunciated  

pronounce clearly

He enunciated the words in his speech.

exploded  

say in a burst of emotion (anger or grief)

He exploded with rage. / that he had had enough!

feared  

say with anxiety and emotion

He feared that he might lose his savings.

grinned  

smile widely with pleasure or amusement

He grinned his approval of the entertainment.

hollered  

shout, yell (often across distance)

He hollered that he would be back late.

insisted¹  

say firmly, confidently

He insisted that he could do it better

interrupted  

to break the flow of a conversation, interject speech

He interrupted he mid-sentence.

laughed  

say with amusement or pleasure

He laughed that he was able to fool everyone. 

nagged  

pester constantly with  fault-finding; complain

He nagged that she had to lose weight.

noted  

mention briefly

He note the changes. / that they had made changes.

objected  

offer reason against

He objected that they called during dinnertime. 

observed  

see, watch, notice

He observed the situation. / that they had a problem.   

ordered¹  

command, require (from an authority)

He ordered a change.  / that they change their plan.

pleaded

use arguments or persuasions for or against something

He plead that he was not guilty.

protested   

object; offer reason against something

He protested that the law was unfair to immigrants.

predicted  

to foretell the future

He predicted that Brazil would win the World Cup.

pronounced   

declare or specify something

The judge pronounced the sentence. / He pronounced that the man be imprisoned for life.

questioned  

ask, inquire; challenge or dispute.

He questioned her character.  He questioned that they waited so long to recall the car.

quoted  

repeat a passage from a book or speech

He quoted a paragraph from her speech.

reasoned  

think logically; think through; conclude or infer

He reasoned that she had lied.

requested¹  

ask for

He requested a new trial.  He requested that the man be retried

ruled  

direct, govern

The Supreme Court ruled that the law should be overturned.   

snapped  

say something suddenly, quickly

He snapped that we were annoying.

sneered  

to smile with contempt, scorn   (willful disobedience, think or regard something unworthy, beneath oneself)

He sneered that she was talking nonsense.

snorted  

express contempt,   (pig-like sound with nose forced through nasal passages)

He snorted that they were were uneducated.

snickered  

laugh disrespectfully  (horse-like sound)

He snickered that their performance was "interesting".

spoke  

say (normal voice)

He spoke the truth.

stammered 

speak with difficulty, with involuntary stops and starts; stutter (sometimes with repeated sounds)

He stammered his name. / that he had to leave.

stormed  

utter in a sudden, violent way; rage

He stormed that he would rather work alone than with us.

suggested¹  

offer opinion

He suggested that we ask our questions later.

taunted  

say in a way that makes fun of something or someone; insults or speaks sarcastically

He taunted that we couldn't win even if we tried.

thought  

belief to be true of someone or something

He thought that they were truthful.

urged¹  

convince; move a person with reasoning to agreement

He urged that we take action right away.

wept  

cry, sob, catching one's breath in between

He wept that alcohol had ruined his life.

whimpered  

cry in a low, submissive way (puppy-like)

He whimpered that no one had given him a chance.

whined

utter a long, nasal-sounding, complaining cry

He whined that he didn't have enough time.

yawned  

open mouth involuntary to take in a long breath of air

He yawned that he had already heard the joke.

¹subjunctive – a verb that expresses ones wishes, doubts, or imposition of will (command) *Imperative Clauses 

Use the COCA  database to check contextual use for the above verbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tense Agreement

Formal vs. Informal Agreement

nurse

 

 

 

Formal vs. Informal Agreement

FORMAL AGREEMENT

When using formal agreement, the verb tense in the dependent clause adjusts to the time frame of the verb in the main (independent) clause. 

spacermain verb affects dependent verb
She said that she was / had been a nurse (dependent clause)

She said, "I am a nurse."
She said that she was a nurse.     a permanent state

She said, "I am tired."
She said that she was tired.   a temporary / ended state

She said, "I was a nurse." 
She said that she had been a nurse. a completed / ended state   

INFORMAL AGREEMENT

In informal speech and writing, the verb in the dependent clause can remain in the present tense if the clause is a statement of 'general truth' (a situation that still exists.)

spacermain verb affects dependent verb
She said that she is / was / had been a nurse (dependent clause)

She said, "I am a nurse."
She said that she is a nurse.     Do not adjust the tense because the state still exists.


same


same

 

Related pages:  Tense Adjustment  | Same Time vs. Earlier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Do you lie?

Liar

 

 

 

Read the Context

Jill: I probably tell a lie a couple of times a day! (admit)

Brian: I tell lies often.  It makes life easier. (brag)

Jane: You shouldn't be so bold about it. (remark)

Brian: People don't always want the truth. (reason)

Jill: People don't want the truth. It's true. (echo)

Brian: No woman wants to hear her dress is ugly. So, I say  I say that it looks nice. (reassure)

Elena: That is a white lie. It's different. (point out)

Brian: It's still a lie. (argue)

Jane: It is told with kindness.  (interrupt)

Elena: When my mom asks if I cleaned up my mess, I say "yes". Then I go clean it up. (laugh)

Jane: That is an example of a near truth. (explain)

Brian: Enough about truthiness.  I have to go.  Oh, and nice dress, Jill. (comment)

Jill: Thank you!   Oh wait,… that's a lie? (question)

Brian: Correct.  And I don't really have to go. (confirm)

a white lie (expression) — a lie told to avoid hurting the feelings of someone

a near truth (expression) — mostly true, but not completely true (untrue)

bold (adj.) — not afraid of taking a risk and making a difficult decision (not afraid of admitting that she does, indeed, tell a lie.

brag (v.) — to speak proudly about an accomplishment

echo (v.) — repeat, a sound that you hear again as it bounces off a surface, for example, a wall in a hall

mess (n.) — a place where things are untidy, not organized, not neat

sincere (adj.) — true, honest

truthiness — (not a real word) an unofficial word introduced by a comedian, Stephen Colbert, regarding political variations in truth.

 

 

 

 

Change the quote to reported speech.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.
she cleaned up her mess after saying she had already done so.

11.

12.
Jill had a nice dress on.

13.

14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Confidential Talk

co workers

 

 

 

 

Read for Errors

Last week, my friend say me that he is going to look for a new job.  I told that I understood why he wanted to leave, but that it might not be a good idea right now.  I explain him that the job market is very difficult right now.  He argue his boss is a very, very difficult woman to get along with, and that he wasn't getting anywhere. 

I agree him about his frustration and ask to him if he was learning anything new in his job.  He confided to me that each day is the same old thing.  So I expressed my sympathy and told to him that I would miss him if he left.  He looked sad and agreed me that he would miss his work friends.

confide (v.) – to impart secrets trustfully; discuss private matters or problems

job market (n.) – work that is available, opportunities to be hired

 

 

 

 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

15.
Last week, my friend say me that he is going to look for a new job.

   

16.
I told that I understood why he wanted to leave, but that it might not be a good idea right now.

   

17.
I explain him that the job market is very difficult right now.

   

18.
He argue his boss is a very, very difficult woman to get along with, and that he wasn't getting anywhere. 

   

19.
I agree him about his frustration and ask to him if he was learning anything new in his job.

   

20.
He confided to me that each day is the same old thing.

   

21.
I expressed my sympathy and told to him that I would miss him if he left.

   

22.
He looked sad and agreed me that he would miss his work friends.

   

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Title

explaining

Advanced

 

 

Read for errors

Our teacher said that we should write a essay on our favorite saying. (tell)

She said that sayings were one way in which we pass our cultural values from one generation to the next. (explain)

She said that we should choose a saying that we learned from our family.  (instruct)

She said that we should give an example of what it meant. (point out)

She said  that we shouldn't make the example too long. (warn)

She said that "Less is better". (remark)

She said that she wanted us to explain how the saying influenced our actions or our thinking. (add)

She said that we had one hour to write the essay. (indicate)

essay (n.) – a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative

 

saying (n.)  – a proverb; a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage; saw. (e.g. The early bird catches the worm. or Time is money.)

 

 

 

 

Change "said" to the word given in parentheses ( ).

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

23.
Our teacher said that we should write an essay on our favorite saying. (tell)


24.
She said that sayings were one way in which we pass our cultural values from one generation to the next. (explain)


25.
She said that we should choose a saying that we learned from our family.  (instruct)


26.
She said that we should give an example of what it meant. (point out)


27.
She said  that we shouldn't make the example too long. (warn)


28.
She said that "Less is better". (remark)


29.
She said that she wanted us to explain how the saying influenced our actions or our thinking. (add)


30.
She said that we had one hour to write the essay. (indicate)