Dialogue tags are used to indicate speech in writing.
Clara asked, "Just what is it with John?! He's always in a bad mood these days."
"I think he must be running on too little sleep and too much caffeine." Jane said.
Although said and asked are most common, there are hundreds of others that you can use to show how the character is speaking, or the mood.
John growled at Clara, "Where have you put my notes? I need them right now!"
"I haven't seen your notes." Clara answered.
Be careful though – using too many different dialogue tags will draw attention to the tags themselves and distract from the conversation. Best to use them sparingly!
Some authors don’t like using physical gestures as dialogue tags – it’s hard to smile and talk at the same time! However, you can use them to show movement in between spoken lines.
"I'll be back before you know it." Jake smiled.
Jane nodded. "See you then."
Task: How many different dialogue tags can you think of?