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Thread: "Said"

  1. #1
    LadyVamp
    Guest

    "Said"

    I may sound a tad strange, but I need some help. Reading my books (mostly American) I notice they use 'So-and-so said'. In the British (English? What's the correct term?) they use 'said So-and-so'. My question is, which one do the editors like more? I'm using the 'said so-and-so' form in mine, unless it makes no sense whatsoever. Should I change it, or would it still be acceptable?
    --LadyVamp



  2. #2
    Jackie Kessler
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    LV, firstly, I'm pretty sure it's "American English" and "British English." As for "LadyVamp said" versus "said LadyVamp," that's a great question. It feels like the former places the emphasis on the speaker, the latter on the words spoken.

    Me, I'd go with "LadyVamp said." I guess I'm just used to that; that feels right to me.

  3. #3
    Sheila Paulsen
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I have a bestseller open in front of me....Both seemed to be used.

    "What is that?" Sarah said.

    "not sure" said John

  4. #4
    Minnie Mouse
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I use both. Depends on what's needed for rhythm at that particular moment.

  5. #5
    Jack Hinks
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    Absolutely, Minnie.

    It's all about rhythm.

    -- JH

  6. #6
    Robert Richards
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I think that "said Joe" sounds more formal than "Joe said". I think it depends on the effect you seek. Like Jack and MM said about the rhythm...

  7. #7
    Will
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    Since pronouns take the place of nouns and proper nouns, substitute and you'll have your answer.

    Would you say this? "Come over here with my shoes," said he.

    Of course not. You'd say: "Come over here with my shoes," he said.

    Plus, there is a rhythm to this. It flows easier when you put "said" after the attribution because it's a natural segue into the continued quote. As in: "Bring me my sneakers," Will said, "I don't want to have to tell you again."

    If you were talking to someone and you started the sentence in this context, you wouldn't say "Said Will he was going to the store." You'd say: "Will said he was going to the store." It's this natural wording that makes the attribution easier to read when you write it as "Will said."

    Nuf said.

    Will

  8. #8
    Keith Cronin
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I disagree with Will, and agree with Minnie (and her elephant).

    Use and placement of "said" is a subtle thing that can gently alter the rhythm of your prose. I make my choices on a sentence-by-sentence basis, usually after reading them aloud.

    Rules oversimplify. Writing is about making choices, not following rules.


    KC

  9. #9
    Will
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I never stated a rule per se, just common sense. You can place SAID wherever you like Keith. There are just easy ways to answer questions sometimes, and mine was the simplest way of looking at if from another angle. If your novel atrributes with the word SAID before HE or SHE, it will be changed if it ever gets that far. I know that's not what the original question asked for, and I don't want to be accused of sending this thread weaving elsewhere, but how can you argue with logic?

    Will

  10. #10
    Keith Cronin
    Guest

    Re: "Said"

    I guess I don't follow your logic. Your previous post seemed to imply that since "said she" sounds a bit high falutin', it follows that "said" followed by any person's name was equally bad. And that's just not the case - a quick skim through several published novels will tell you that.

    There are times when one usage may sounds and flow better than the other - part of being a good writer is making smart choices about such matters.

    I will admit that it's hard to go wrong with putting the speaker *before* the "said." That will probably never be wrong. But there may be instances where reversing the position of the words actually enhances the text, albeit in a subtle way. And I want to write the best text I can, so I look for such opportunities.

    I may even use "said she" if I feel it suits the tone of the piece. For example, such usage would fit right into prose written in a Wodehouse-like style.


    KC

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