"One of our pet peeves is the evolving usage of 'said' instead of 'asked' immediately preceding the utterance of a question," noted readers Bill and Julie, who gave this example: "He said, 'Where are you going?'"

"We are hearing this more and more often in everyday conversations involving questions, in TV advertisements and on social media. ... "Do you have any idea why? Is it because 'said' is easier to pronounce than the tongue twister 'asked'? We were taught one shouldn't say a question. A question should always be asked," they added.

I haven't noticed the same trend. But I do have some guidelines to follow for using speech tags well. Here's the column I wrote in response to Bill and Julie's question.

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