Okay, I admit; I like quotative verbs. Of course, I would prefer to avoid using 'said' all the time.

AFAIK there is no canonical question asking for general alternatives to 'said'. I've compiled quite a list (over 400 so far), and am wondering, would it be interesting to "ask" a question to turn into a community wiki collecting verbs that can be (ab)used as quotatives?

(Or, is there such a question already that I haven't found?)

  • 3
    Questions asking for lists tend to be closed for being off-topic. I don't think there is any post on EL&U asking for an extensive list of reporting verbs.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 19, 2020 at 9:56
  • Though it surely is of interest to ELUers, SE is not a good place for reference lists. I've seen things like this on Wikipedia, though it might seem weird there too.
    – Mitch
    Feb 19, 2020 at 13:31
  • Right, that's a) why I asked about asking, first, and b) why, if I did it, it would be a "share your knowledge" post (i.e. has an answer already when it goes live) and a community wiki. There are some "questions" of that nature floating around SE, but maybe more on meta than the main networks. (Perhaps ironically, Andrew linked to one such...)
    – Matthew
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


What you're asking about is compiling a thesaurus. They already exist, and are in the list of reference works which should be consulted.

While lists are not expressly mentioned in the Help, they do fit into one of the unwelcome categories:

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid

I don't recommend asking such a question. (But asking about asking the question is entirely the right thing to do.)

  • It's not, strictly speaking, a thesaurus, as the focus is words usable in a specific context, and not words with similar meaning. I've gleaned many of them from thesaurus searches, but in my experience, a thesaurus search will sometimes have a mix of words that are and are not usable as quotatives.
    – Matthew
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:00
  • @Matthew It's thesauricalish. THere are a few entries in Roget's original that just seem to be him listing off 'things that might be used in place of', like synonyms for dying: kick the bucket, buy the farm, off to meet one's maker, etc etc.
    – Mitch
    Feb 21, 2020 at 13:53
  • A good start would be Arnold Zwicky's 1971 article "In a Manner of Speaking" (Linguistic Inquiry 2:223-33), which discusses the snap, cackle, and pipe up speech manner verbs. Feb 25, 2020 at 23:15

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