Increasing your vocabulary will allow you more flexibility in your speaking. But where to begin? We suggest starting with a word that you probably use all the time: say.

How many times do we use the word “say” in one day? Who knows! Between the times we recount stories, write about authors, books, or articles (in which the author “says” something), or retell something that was said to another person, English speakers use the word MANY times. And we can all agree on one thing: this word is a bit boring! Especially when you consider how many words there are in the English language that you can use in its place.

The key to substituting the word “say” is to think a bit further and ask yourself HOW the person is saying something. There is probably a verb that perfectly fits the person’s emotional state! For example, if a person is a bit annoyed, he might “say” something, or he might be doing one of these following verbs:

  • grumble
  • groan
  • growl

Or, if a person is yelling angrily, he might:

  • rage
  • rant
  • yell
  • thunder
  • howl

Perhaps the person is agreeing with you. He might:

  • accept
  • acknowledge
  • admit
  • affirm
  • confer
  • concur

The following are a few great words to use instead of say:

  • state
  • declare
  • remark
  • voice
  • indicate

The list goes on and on!

Would you like to improve your vocabulary skills? A quick tip is to use It is a great tool for providing you with synonyms: just make sure to look up the meaning of the word that the thesaurus suggests, as one word is not always an exact substitute for the original word. For example, take a look at this sentence:

  1. “I don’t want to go,” he said.
  2. “I don’t want to go,” he said admitted.
  3. “I don’t want to go,” he said grumbled.

Sentence One: BORING!

Sentence Two: “Admit” means to confess to something; usually, you are reluctant to confess. In this case, the sentence sounds like he FINALLY says that he does not want to go, and he is hesitant to do so.

Sentence Three: “Grumble” is to talk lowly and unclear, like you are complaining. This sounds like he is going, but he does not want to.