When I want to narrate or tell someone about a conversation that I or some people were involved in, it seems wrong to me to represent the participants with, for instance,

Sam said...blah blah blah

Then james replied....blah blah blah

The. Same said.......

The james replied ......

And so on....maintaining the narrating with the same pattern.

Here, my tuition of narrating a story sounds weird to some extent with saying: he said, then he replied


However, I see that some people use something like

Sam go like......,

James told him like......

Then, Sam was like ........

My question, what is the best way to narrate a story and sound natural in English when making the switch of back and forth between the participants in a dialog?

I mean retell it with being formal and make it look more idiomatic.

How do native speakers do it?

  • Are you talking about a written narrative of the conversation? If so, your question is about writing skills rather than use of English. In brief, you can vary it by putting "He said", "He replied" etc. before or after the quoted speech, or if only two people are talking you can just quote the dialogue once you have established who the speakers are. Mar 26, 2020 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


The second set using "like" isn't good use of English. A sentence such as

I was like "tell me" and he was like "yeah great".

might be natural in some dialects but won't pass your exams or gain respect in adult articulate company.

Perhaps instead of trying to repeat a conversation, you can try to summarise it:

When I asked John about the gig he said he really liked it.

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