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I said. I mentioned. I teased.Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2007, at 1:52 PM
Creativity is a wonderful thing! It can sometimes be fun to use words that create pictures in other people's minds. However, journalism is restrictive to the truth, the bare facts. Although a certain amount of creativity does exist in one's writing of events that transpire in our area, a journalist must always be careful not to be an interpreter of those events. That is why some of our word usage may seem repetitious to those reading the stories. I was recently given advice from someone that encouraged me to avoid using the word "said" quite so often. Respectfully, I must say that I cannot take the advice because using the word "said" is what I am told to do. On occasion I can vary the word, but most of the time, that is the proper word to help me stay neutral in my writing. Take a look at the way the following sentence changes its meaning when I change only one word.
John said that he is guilty. (Simple fact)
John admitted that he is guilty. (Maybe implies that he didn't want to tell, but for some reason he did.)
John yelled he is guilty.
John grunted he is guilty.
John sighed he is guilty.
John proclaimed he is guilty.
John agreed he is guilty.
Sally said the words.
Sally announced the words.
Sally relented the words.
Sally laughed the words.
Sally hollered the words.
Sally wailed the words.
My mother said I could go.
My mother snapped I could go.
My mother indicated I could go.
My mother insisted I could go.
My mother groaned I could go.
Just for fun, I decided to write a little story using as many of the words my un-named advisor encouraged me to use. Though I am not allowed to use these in the new world, I did enjoy the experience and challenge of using them here.
Sally zoomed down the street repeating after John who was addressing his group of imaginary friends. The friends, though no one else could hear them were croaking at John to slow his bicycle down.
"You are making us nauseated," they spluttered.
Sally's words were direct imitations of Johns' mutterings. John's imaginary friends bantered Sally's remarks, thus making John all the more unhappy with the situation.
"Stop it," he moaned. Still the chorus of fun making continued.
"Stop it," John insisted. However, by this point, no one could here John. They were all making too much noise.
"I said, stop it," He screamed. This seemed to do the trick. Sally and all of the imaginaries stopped in mid-sentence and in disbelief.
No one had ever heard John shriek before.
Sally mentioned that John only needed to ask nicely for them to quiet down.
One imaginary snorted, "I'm not your friend anymore."
Another imaginary gulped words of hurt.
John being the good friend that he was responded with a request for forgiveness. At which Sally motioned that they were all at fault.
The group of friends belched their promise to always use their nice manners when they are trying to play with each other.
This way no one has to whimper, whine or stammer after having his or her feelings hurt.
A special thank you goes out to the man who sent me the list of alternative words for the word "said." The review of the words has created much enjoyment for me, after all, my first love really is fictional writing.
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