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 Post subject: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 10:32 pm 
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``The issue is not how much more time the inspectors need to search in
the dark,'' Powell declared.<p>***I cannot equate this with a "declaration." He said it. Why do some reporters try to avoid "said?"


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:04 pm 
My guess is that the reporter equated Powell's statement with some emphatic gesture or inflection of voice as the secretary was speaking ... conveniently forgetting that none of us were there and don't share his or her frame of esoteric reference. Which is no excuse.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:08 pm 
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The only source I can think of, not having been to j-school, is high school English class, where we were encouraged to mix up our "said"s with "opined" and "remarked" and, yes, "declared." This "lesson" must have been ingrained in many future reporters. I'll admit to being a little alarmed sometimes, thinking of what Mrs. Nichols would say about so many "said"s in one story. But then I recover.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:20 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by jbm:
I'll admit to being a little alarmed sometimes, thinking of what Mrs. Nichols would say about so many "said"s in one story. But then I recover.<hr></blockquote><p>Mrs. Nichols is an idiot.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:33 pm 
Not necessarily ... her guideline is fine for English class essays, short stories, and many other writing formats. Just not for news.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:38 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
Not necessarily ... her guideline is fine for English class essays, short stories, and many other writing formats. Just not for news.<hr></blockquote><p>To tell students to mix up attributive verbs for the sake of variety is the act of a moron.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:43 pm 
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If it doesn't say "said," change it.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2003 11:51 pm 
I don't agree. Should every writing format follow the same rules set for newswriting? That would make for some unbearably dull novels, essays, plays, stand-up comedy routines, movies and television programs. Variety -- even superfluous variety -- can be colorful, and can't be considered inappropriate for those formats (even if the writing at times is occasionally cringeworthy for other reasons). It may not be your taste, but it isn't wrong, and isn't particularly moronic. Don't confuse personal preference with objective absolutes.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:00 am 
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Why does saying "declared" or "prattled" or "opined" or "remarked" make a story more interesting?<p>Also, there can be a nuance in meaning with words other than "said." Said says it all. Forget the imitators.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:08 am 
No, it doesn't. "Said" doesn't always say HOW a thing is said. And in non-hard-news formats, that can be colorful, interesting, pertinent ... and valid.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:10 am 
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Speaking of non-news writing ...
Does anyone else find it hard -- or impossible -- to read for pleasure after having served time as a copy editor? I graduated from college with an English lit degree in 2000, and have yet to finish a fiction novel I've started reading since then.<p>This profession sucks dry my will to live sometimes.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:12 am 
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Feel free to edit the hell out of that last sentence, BTW ... :p


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:19 am 
Not me ... I inhale novels. And lots of non-fiction. Being a copy editor doesn't detract from the pleasure of reading them ... but does make me cringe at some of the phrasing therein at times.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:24 am 
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I read other papers for pleasure.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:32 am 
So your prejudice against attribution verbs other than "said" DOES stem from personal pique? Does reading anything other than papers actually cause you physiological pain? I'm not being sarcastic here ... if that's true, it seems rather sad. It's like bringing the stink of work home with you and carrying it around like a foul brown cloud into your family life ....


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:22 am 
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Well, I read other papers because I consider it part of my job. I also tend to read almanacs; I consider that part of my job.<p>Between that, doing my job and having had five kids, I don't have enough patience or eyesight left to read novels.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 2:52 am 
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In any writing, you don't use one word or another for the sake of variety. You use a word because it's the right word. That applies to equally to fiction, nonfiction, journalism, songwriting and poetry.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 3:44 am 
That's your opinion, not "in general." And that's MY opinion ... which is my point -- this is a purely subjective argument. There is no right or wrong, no absolutes, on this issue, and I doubt you can cite any credible authority to the contrary (not that any exists). There's merely preferences which may in some elitist circles have become tempered and hardened by time (like many of the copy editors here, I would submit). Quit looking for rules in everything where none need exist.<p>[ January 28, 2003: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 4:55 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
That's your opinion, not "in general." And that's MY opinion ... which is my point -- this is a purely subjective argument. There is no right or wrong, no absolutes, on this issue, and I doubt you can cite any credible authority to the contrary (not that any exists). There's merely preferences which may in some elitist circles have become tempered and hardened by time (like many of the copy editors here, I would submit). Quit looking for rules in everything where none need exist. <hr></blockquote><p>From Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing" comes the following in a chapter on revising fiction:<p>"In your general revision, catch the places where a character 'muttered,' 'screamed,' and the like instead of 'said.' Substitute 'he said' and 'she said' for language that tells the reader how the lines are spoken. That's the dialogue's job."<p>And rules are customary and general courses of action, not absolutes. There are such animals as rules. It does not make you an elitist to espouse them.<p>[ January 28, 2003: Message edited by: Tim Hathcock ]<p>[ January 28, 2003: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 8:14 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
[QB There is no right or wrong, no absolutes, on this issue ....
[/QB]<hr></blockquote><p>We can safely say: "In any writing, you don't use one word or another for the sake of variety. You use a word because it's the right word." I don't think anyone can make a credible argument to the contrary.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:35 am 
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I'm another strong advocate of said. It is invisible, neutral and does the job. That is one thing I learned in J-school that I have carried with me and passed on frequently.
Every other word that could substitute carries its freight of nuances - alleged, claimed, stated, bellowed, implied, giggled, etc.
Occasionally - very occasionally - you want the nuance. And that's the ONLY occasion to vary from said. But once or twice a year, there's a better word than good old said.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 11:00 am 
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"Said" rules. It can become invisible and let what the person said speak for itself.<p>This conversation reminds me of a fiction writing course I taught to high schoolers. Despite my best efforts to teach the beauty of "said," I had one student turn in a bit of heated dialogue that went:<p>"Shut up!" he explained.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:11 pm 
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Right on, Theothermike.<p>Especially noxious are "stated" and its bastard cousin, "declared."<p>Both convey an image of reading from some sort of prepared statement, like John Adams "declaring" something while reading from a piece of foolscap.<p>And reporters, ever mindful of what teachers like jbm's Mrs. Pepperpot, or whatever her name was, drilled into their heads, give us ridiculous sentences like: "Rain didn't dampen my spirits," Goofus declared.<p>You are right to put that teacher out of your mind, jbm.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 12:13 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Theothermike:
This conversation reminds me of a fiction writing course I taught to high schoolers. Despite my best efforts to teach the beauty of "said," I had one student turn in a bit of heated dialogue that went:<p>"Shut up!" he explained.<hr></blockquote><p>I hope you flunked that kid for plagiarism. That's a famous line from a 1920 Ring Lardner novel. Although I'm positive I also read it in Jim Bouton's "Ball Four."


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 3:58 pm 
The "authorities" you cite are merely citing their own opinions. As are you, and as am I. I for one like the variety of words other than "said" ... as I SAID from the beginning, in non-news formats. In newswriting, you need the carefully modulated neutrality of "said" at all times, I believe.<p>Authorities are meant to be challenged. Strunk and White were not gods, after all.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:14 pm 
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In "non-news formats," you can use "she ululated," for all I care. I probably won't be reading it anyway.<p>In the newspaper, do your readers a favor and use "said."


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:30 pm 
I KNEW we'd find SOMETHING to agree on at some point. Is that a flying pig I see outside?


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:35 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Jim Thomsen:
Strunk and White were not gods, after all.<hr></blockquote><p>Blasphemer!


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:41 pm 
Maybe I was wrong ... I find a verse in the Apocyrpha that reads: "And behold, cometh a vision in White ...."


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:44 pm 
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I'm dreading the day that a reporter tries to drop one of those damned smiley emoticons ( :) ) in a story because it will put the quote in "context."


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 7:03 pm 
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My favorite real-life insertion was "snorted at approximately 40 miles per hour."<p>But you guys are only hacking at one side of the "said/declared/stated/indicated" weed ... about half the time the writer inserted "averred/remarked/belched" because he wrote "said" in the last three sentences. <p>If you clear away all the "uttered/gasped/laughed" instances, then delete about a third of the "saids," you'll be making some progress -- as long as the speaker is clear, of course. When they only talk to one guy, it's hard to be confused.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 7:21 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by JonScribe:
I'm dreading the day that a reporter tries to drop one of those damned smiley emoticons ( :) ) in a story because it will put the quote in "context."<hr></blockquote><p>I have a team of technicians trying to disable those blasted emoticons. Meanwhile, everyone could help by not using them.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 12:01 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
<p>I have a team of technicians trying to disable those blasted emoticons. Meanwhile, everyone could help by not using them.<hr></blockquote><p>Emoticons are the inflection of the Internet. Typing "I'm going to kill you :) " is far different from "I'm going to kill you :mad: "<p>They have no place in actual literature or journalism or whatnot, but certainly they have their place in a chat room or a bulletin board.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 12:43 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by 4Jfan:
<p>
They have no place in actual literature or journalism or whatnot, but certainly they have their place in a chat room or a bulletin board.
<hr></blockquote><p>Heh. Not this one.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 1:23 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Heh. Not this one.<hr></blockquote><p>Gee, first you kill a thread just as it's getting interesting, and now we can't even use emoticons? Aren't you being just a bit heavy-handed? :(<p>[ January 29, 2003: Message edited by: Gary Kirchherr ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:14 am 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by KfitzR:
[QB].
Every other word that could substitute carries its freight of nuances - alleged, claimed, stated, bellowed, implied, giggled, etc.
Occasionally - very occasionally - you want the nuance. <p>When did nuance become a crime? Occasionally - very occasionally - it can be a sign of careful writing.


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 Post subject: Re: A great word: said
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2003 1:05 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Boog:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by KfitzR:
[QB]When did nuance become a crime? Occasionally - very occasionally - it can be a sign of careful writing.
<hr></blockquote><p>But the point is, it's almost always not. At least in newswriting.


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