40 neutral and non-neutral alternatives to ‘said’
Are you tired of the word “said”?
It’s used so frequently that it’s become invisible. Read any article in the
mainstream media and count how many times the word “said” or “says” is
In journalism school, PR pros learn that it’s the only word you could use
to attribute speech. It’s presented as an unbreakable rule—ignore it at
The reason for this restriction is the need to maintain impartiality. When
it comes to quoting what someone has said, journalists don’t want to inject
subjectivity into their reporting. They must stay out of the story and
present the facts clearly. “Said” is neutral. “Claimed” is not.
These same style rules carry over to PR, since PR pros want to use the same
language journalists use. For those who want to break free and don’t care
if they commit a stylistic heresy, here are a few alternatives to “said”
that can spice up your copy but remain impartial.
- Put forth
- Put into words
Other alternatives imply a judgment from the author, and therefore will run
afoul of journalists and discerning readers objectivity radar every time.
What do you think PR Daily readers? Do you ever use alternatives
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular
contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her posts on writing and
journalistic heresy at