I'm not one of those who hates quote tags or restricts them to "he said." I like verbs that tell what the quote IS: asked, remarked, commented, observed, shouted, whispered-- verbs that are "say" words (that is, they specifically refer to speech) but are giving the extra info you might get if you were there and could see the facial expression and hear the tone. I also have no problem with adverbs that modify (she said softly) or contradict (he yelled lovingly) the quote verb, as long as it works and isn't redundant (not so fond of "he murmured softly," though I'm sure I've written that :).
So I'm hardly a puritan when it comes to quote tags. But of course, I do draw the line. Now I want you all to think about what you find acceptable and what you find objectionable as a tag for dialogue. (Assume that, for purposes of rhythm and/or speaker identification, you need a quote tag, and an action tag might be too much, distracting from the speech, etc.)
So here are some tag verbs I've seen recently, and maybe you can pick out the ones that annoy you and the ones that don't, and if you have a rationale, let us know. :) Now before or after these is a line of speech, like:
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said.
That is, these are TAGS. They are to be connected (like she said above) with a comma before or after the speech. They are not sentences on their own. Okay? And the speech line presumably has something to do with the chosen tag, like "You can't divide by zero," he instructed.
he ground out
he grated (what is it with "gr" words? Reminds me of the Crazy English guy who pointed out that most English words that begin with "sn" have to do with the nose)
Thoughts? Other tags you like or hate?