The ad says that this medicine is efficient for losing weight.

Is is idiomatic to use the verb "say" for advertisement? Or there are better verbs I can use in the above sentence?

2 Answers 2


In general, when discussing the content of a written work, one can use "says":

  • The Post says that Trump will go to Iowa.
  • My history book says that North America was discovered in 1492.
  • The contract says that I have three moths to pay without interest.
  • Crego and Bronson says, on page 345, that Jones was lying to Smith.

(The last example uses "Crego and Bronson", presumably the names of the authors, as a substitute for the title of the work. Some works are commonly referred to in this way. A well known example would be "Strunk and White". Thus "says" and not say, because the two authors name a single book." )

  • Strunk and White says to write "Charles's books" not "Charles' books".

In all of these cases "says" means simply "contains the statement that". It is describing the written text. It does not mean that the speaker believes the statement, nor that the speaker doubts or disputes it. It just reports what is in the text.

One can use 'writes" instead of "says" to indicate the content of a text:

In Life on the Mississippi Twin writes that "the basin of the Mississippi is the Body of The Nation. All the other parts are but members, ..." to indicate the cent4ral importance of his subject.

The meaning is essentially the same, but "writes" emphasizes that this is a written text, and brings to mind an image of the author constructing the text.

One can also use "states" in place of "says" with no significant change in meaning.

When one desires to indicate an opinion of the text and its statements, there are a variety of other terms (mostly verbs) which can be used in place of "says", such as: "alleges", "claims", "asserts", "maintains", "demonstrates", "declares", "supposes", "justifies" among others. These indicate acceptance of or (more often) skepticism of statements in teh text.


If somebody asked you what the ad said, your response would be quite correct.

You might also say that:

The ad claims (that) the medicine .....
The ad asserts that....
The ad maintains that....

The ad declares that.....

and so on.

In short, the advertisement is promoting the medicine's (alleged) weight-loss benefits.

But there's nothing wrong with says that.

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