He Said, She Said – Say What?!

I’m currently trekking through outlining my next novel, and if you’re like me, you spend time in-between that studying the written word. I read various types of books – fiction, non-fiction, young adult, middle-grade, romance – I’m not prejudiced. I recently picked up one of my son’s favorite books – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, I know – I hear ya. How could I have not read the books by J.K. Rowling? It’s blasphemy. Yada, yada. Got it. Anyways, I noticed the dialogue tags and stopped reading for a minute, then began scanning the page.

J. K. Rowling’s dialogue tags are structured with said Harry versus Harry said, so I started wondering which way was the correct way. The answer is neither way is wrong. Janice Hardy wrote one article that made the most sense to me. Here’s a link to it that you can check out for yourself:


After reading the blog article, I sat back in my seat and reevaluated how I use dialogue tags. I’m going to test both dialogue tags as I write to see which one sounds better. Here’s a piece of the article that made sense to me:

‘When in doubt, try both and listen to how each one sounds:

“I should leave you two for the zombies,” Jane said, pointing the Sig Sauer at them.

“I should leave you two for the zombies,” said Jane, pointing the Sig Sauer at them.

To me, “said Jane,” works better here, because the punch is in the gun, not the text, so putting Jane closest to the gun emphasizes that.’

~Written by Janice Hardy~

*Boom* Epiphany of the day. I love to read, and sometimes, during a story, I see things I’ve never paid much attention to before, and I learn something new. You’re never too old to learn.

If you want to read another novel with this kind of dialogue tag, Renegade by Marissa Meyer structures her dialogue tags in the same way. You can also check out a few classics by C.S. Lewis.


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