Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Freebie: Said is Dead

Does this sound familiar?

-The man walked up to the woman.  He said, "How are you?"
-She said, "I am doing well.  How are you?"
-"Fine," he said, "How was your day?"
-"My day was good," she said, "How was your day?"
-He said, "It was great."
-She said, "That is nice."

While there are a few things that could improve this example of student writing, perhaps the most obvious and easiest to solve is eliminating the repetition of the word said. 

It is time for the word "said" to go away.  It's a fine word.  It has a purpose.  But it is time for "said" to move over for more descriptive and lively replacements.

This Said is Dead Poster helps students find synonyms for "said" to use in their writing.  Said is officially dead in my classroom.

Let's try that student writing sample again.  This is his second draft:

-The man walked up to the woman.  He asked, "How are you?"
-"I am doing well," she responded, "How are you?"
-"Fine," he lied, "How was your day?"
-"My day was good," she added, "How was your day?"
-He lied again, "It was great."
-"That is nice," she mumbled.

There is still room for improvement, but as the author expressed after this first revision, "The characters sound like they actually have like feelings and stuff now!"  Plus, his accompanying picture (and the lack of smiles on his characters' faces) made more sense after his revision.


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