Said May Well Be the Worst Word Ever Invented

So I was writing this paragraph earlier:

“I agree with the necessity of washing them,” Garan said. They said you should wash even brand new stuff from the store before you wore it. Besides, while it might be a minor detail, one most people might not notice, the clothes would not smell right. They should smell like they’d been washed in the same place, by the same people, if the cover was going to be realistic. “I’m not going to feel comfortable until the threat is completely over.”

What is tripping me up is the first part, after the dialogue, where it goes Garan said and then they said.

It doesn’t sound right to me to use said twice right there.

So I go to look up said in the thesaurus. First, the one in my office program calls it an adjective and has no real alternatives other than aforementioned and stated. I blink, pull up the internet window, and go to my usual thesaurus site.

I get a list of possibilities. I read through them, repeatedly, dismissing each in turn. They don’t fit.

I go to another site, get that said is an adjective again–and no, I’m not denying that it has a use as an adjective, but is it too much for the sites and programs to connect said as the past participle of say? Do I actually have to go look for say?

Apparently so.

But then say comes up as an adverb.

You would think, “said” being probably one of the more common words in the English language, it wouldn’t be so hard to find the right alternative. I can still hear, echoing in my brain, the voice of my sixth grade English teacher as she ranted about the horror that is lack of variety and read aloud from a Nancy Drew book that basically went:

said Nancy.

said Bess.

said George.

said Nancy.

And my teacher gave us a list of things to use instead. I try not to use said, but sometimes it’s just what you have to do. If I use it, I try to pair up some kind of adverb with it, to say how they’re saying it, but in this case, my mind is a blank, the thesaurus has failed me, and I feel like banging my head against something.

Said, you are an evil word, and I’d stop using you if I could.

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