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2 don't I have any say in the matter?
influence, sway, weight, voice, input, share, part
While most writing can be improved by choosing strong and precise nouns, adjectives, and verbs, this isn't always so. When reading a novel's dialogue, we should be paying attention to what the characters say, and learn about their feelings through their words. But too many young authors overstress the verbal markers of back-and-forth speech. So we read Frank replied or Frank riposted or even Losing his temper, Frank violently expostulated. Much of the time a careful writer can set up the rhythm of a conversation so that it's always clear who's speaking and with what degree of passion. If more precise identification is needed, a simple Frank said will usually suffice, the weak and common verb scarcely intruding on the give-and-take on the page.Michael Dirda