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"Hi," Kathy said vs. "Hi," said Kathy. (1 Viewer)

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Irwin

Senior Member
Which form of speech tag do you prefer?
"Hi," Kathy said vs. "Hi," said Kathy.

To me, the second form sounds like Cat in the Hat

“Now! Now! Have no fear. Have no fear!” said the cat. “My tricks are not bad,” said the Cat in the Hat.​

... but some very successful authors use that form.

Or do you vary it, sometimes placing "said" in front of the name and sometimes after?
 

Irwin

Senior Member
Here's a few lines from David Baldacci's The Hit

“I’m not a detective,” said Robie. “That’s not my strength.”​
Blue Man looked at him. “I would disagree with you on that point, Robie.”​
“But regardless, send a killer to find a killer,” said Gelder simply.​
“You have lots of them on the payroll,” Robie replied.​
Gelder stopped picking his nail. “You come highly recommended.”​
“Why? Because of what happened recently?”​
“We would be derelict in our duties if we ignored that,” said Gelder.​

He's not consistent with his form, and every one of his books have been best sellers! Obviously, not because of that, but it seems irrelevant to readers. Still, he seems to favor putting the verb before the name.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Your example above shows how both can be used effectively. I generally go for 'Kathy said.' And you can use it on both sides of the dialogue.

Kathy said, "Hi."
 

Kyle R

WF Veterans
I don't believe the order matters too much. Mainly, such tags exist to inform the reader of who's speaking.

If you asked general readers whether they preferred "Kathy said" or "said Kathy", I bet most would admit that they never notice such a thing at all. Because this kind of stuff is pretty much invisible to anyone except us writers.

I'd only be concerned if my usage became repetitive, or began to sound stilted. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it either way.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
There's no wrong answer but I'd use "Kathy said" as "said Kathy" feels too 'children's book' but that may just be me.
 

MistWolf

Senior Member
When you listen to a book on Audible, each and every said grates on the nerves.

How about- Kathy waved at her friend across the campus. "Hi Joan!"
 
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