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  1. Darkhorse

    Darkhorse Member

    Feb 9, 2013
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    She said - said He

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Darkhorse, Nov 19, 2013.

    Is there a more grammatically correct place to put the tag 'said'?

    And, if there is or isn't, what do you think the effect on the reader of the order, if there is one, even if it is minuscule?

    I'm sure many people will think it doesn't matter. And, in the scheme of things I don't think it really does matter much for a novel. But, I do think the order of words has an interesting effect on a sentence - such as passive vs active voice - though I don't have much clue to its effect. So, I think a discussion about something simple like this might be beneficial to me, at least.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts on sentence structure/clause order and ways that they can be used for interesting or simple effect (huge question, I know); or, to provide some sources or links to resources on these topics.
  2. Thomas Kitchen

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Nov 5, 2012
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    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    It doesn't really matter. The only couple of things I would say is that whichever way you prefer, switch to the other one now and again, just to give readers a new format to read. Keeps things fresh. :)

    Also, I would use "said he" if a name, be that the speaker's name or someone else, appears as the last word of someone's speech. E.g.

    "What are you doing there, Robert?" Steve said. - I think this looks a little awkward, but in the end it's up to you.

    "What are you doing there, Robert?" said Steve. This works nicely if you also want to add an extra bit to the sentence, such as this:

    "What are you doing there, Robert?" said Steve quizzically.

    Hope this helps.
    Darkhorse likes this.
  3. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 17, 2013
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    Profaned Capital
    What Thomas said about name and pronouns...

    Also, I tend to use them something like this:

    "I like blueberry pie," said the man with a big feather hat.
    "I like blueberry pie," the man said.

    So if there's a longish post-modifier for one reason or another, it affects my decision.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
    Darkhorse likes this.
  4. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    it's a matter of author style only...

    'said' coming first seems to be found more often among british/commonwealth writers, put last being more common among americans...
  5. madhoca

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Dec 1, 2008
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    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    ^^ as mamma says. The "said John" style is percieved as borderline archaic in the US but pretty normal in other English-speaking countries. I try to avoid it even though I'm English because I do think it gives a more dated feel. Think how it would be if you replaced it with the pronoun, the second example is definitely an older style:
    'Do it like this,' he said.
    'I don't want to,' said she.
  6. VM80

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Nov 16, 2010
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    I prefer name first.

    Not sure if switching between the two would be something I'd like to read. It seems too jolty.
  7. Leigh Silvester

    Leigh Silvester Member

    Dec 4, 2013
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    I try to avoid too many 'saids'.

    "The road is so long," grumbled Robert.

    Sharon fixed him with an exasperated look.

    "There's one thing I can't stand and that is hiking with moaners"

    Stung by this rebuke Robert tried to salvage his dignity.

    "I only meant that I would like to get you to a romantic table for two as soon as possible"

    "Hmmm," said Sharon. She was not entirely convinced.

    EDIT: fixed those wandering commas.

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