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The word said

Discussion in 'English' started by jdm14, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Im a ks2 teacher and we use big writing in school which, in my opinion, is excellent.

    We are always encouraging the children to use words other than said in their writing and it is in fact 'banned' from being spoken/written in the classroom! My point is that most texts the chn read, said is used all the time!

    Do other schools place a heavy emphasis on this too? I'm sure the chn must be confused why we reinforce it in their work but in most texts they read it everywhere!
     
  2. Im a ks2 teacher and we use big writing in school which, in my opinion, is excellent.

    We are always encouraging the children to use words other than said in their writing and it is in fact 'banned' from being spoken/written in the classroom! My point is that most texts the chn read, said is used all the time!

    Do other schools place a heavy emphasis on this too? I'm sure the chn must be confused why we reinforce it in their work but in most texts they read it everywhere!
     
  3. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    But sometimes 'said' is the right word. Just as 'then', 'and', 'but' and all those other words banned in primary can be. In all secondary schools in which I have taught, we nag at pupils not to repeat words, especially in the same sentence, unless it is done deliberately. But we don't ban words. Better to have 'said' a couple of times than inappropriate alternatives that ruin an attempt at style.
     
  4. I remember teaching a class to try to start every sentence in a piece with a different word, then going home to read a Dickens novel, in which the great man started most sentences on many pages with "he". But it is still important to encourage puplis to vary and expand their vocabulary above the colloquial and simplistic "said", "nice", "good", "bad", "big","small", "went" and "got".Progress through the levels and grades depends on "variety" and "sophistication"
     
  5. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    "My point is that most texts the chn read, said is used all the time!"
    There's a similar situation with "And" at the beginning of sentences. Teachers may try to discourage it for good reasons. However, banning something which is a natural feature of the language doesn't make much sense - and you need to make it clear that it is just a class rule or a school rule that's been made up and not a language rule (as I expect you have done).
    So many times, I've been reading with children and been told, "That's bad English. Miss so-and-so said it's wrong to start a sentence with 'and'."
     
  6. Publishers encourage the use of "said" because it is a "placeholder word" and we read it and understand without actually noticing it. All the beautiful verbs we encourage children to use jump out and disrupt the flow of dialogue. And then there's Twilight syndrome. "I'm confused," murmured Bella, confusedly.
     
  7. Joannanna

    Joannanna New commenter

    Publishers prefer 'said' to almost any substitute word for exactly the reasons airy said. In fact, if possible, they prefer no speech tags whatsoever, only as many as needed to make sense. They also tend to dislike adverbs for similar reasons.
     
  8. Was the trend of encouraging children to avoid 'said' perhaps started by primary teachers who noticed that young children tend to misspell 'said' as 'sed'?
    'Asked' is often misspelled as 'arsked', but perhaps not as often as 'said' in the early years.
    The inconsistencies of English spelling lead to all kinds of problems.
     
  9. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    No.
     
  10. airy is partly right. The beautiful words we encourage children to use, with the aim of improving their vocabulary, do jump out in a printed book. But the use of any word other than 'said' is discouraged by creative writing courses rather than publishers. Along with banning adjectives and adverbs, its a fashion thing.
    Masha Bell is talking rot.
     
  11. It was a publisher rather than anyone to do with creative writing who told me. A couple of other people confirmed it.
     
  12. No. And "arsked" is only going to appear where children have a very particular accent.
     
  13. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    And 'axsed' of course [​IMG]
     
  14. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    Please teach them to punctuate their work accurately. I am fed up of year sevens who turn up writing overblown purple prose, but who can't use a full stop or comma correctly.
     
  15. This September I will have been teaching for 30 years. Not once, in all that time, in all those piles of marking, have I ever seen the word said written as sed. Neither have I ever seen asked written as arsked. (I have never once come across a child who cannot spell the word YOU correctly either, incidentally)
     
  16. Do none of you people speak properly? ;)
     
  17. Thanks for your comments. Obviously I have explained to the children that you can use 'said' from time to time but to use an alternative can make the writing more interesting, when appropriate (ie not through entire dialogue). It was actually a colleague who was covering my class who made this an issue.

    anteater- I assume your comment was aimed at my post? I was unaware I had misused full stops or commas (and remain so). Secondly do you think your comment could be considered slightly ignorant- advising to ensure the children in my class are able to punctuate? Are you saying that all of year 7 in your school are unable to punctuate when they arrive?
     
  18. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I would say that few children start Year 7 able to use commas accurately. Many fail to use apostrophes accurately. From my experience as a parent, I would say that some primary teachers have similar problems.
     
  19. The lecturers on the creative writing modules that I did as part of my degree were adamant that no word other than 'said' was ever necessary. As EllenDeGenerate says, they also banned adverbs and adjectives. If I reread my writing from the period I am struck by just how boring it is! Expanding a child's vocabulary is fantastic, please continue to do it!
     
  20. The problem with overdescribing is that it adds unnecessary baggage and slows down the action. If characters are forever interjecting, guffawing, groaning, gasping, ..., in bright golden fields of sun ripened corn gently waving in the warm autumn breeze ... you start to lose the plot. There's a balance to be found.

    a story should allow the reader/listener to paint their own picture and picture the characters.

    You have to know what to leave out so part of teaching the craft is to make kids aware of all the ways you can say said and how adverbs and adjectives enliven descriptions.
     

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