I find using said it better. Because when you use things like 'he barked' 'he snapped' she said softly. You're starting to tell rather than show. And I just don't like using words to describe how a character spoke unless it's important because most of the time the dialogue says it for you. Like: "I don't care!" he shouted. (do we really need to be told he spoke loudly when we already have an exclamation mark that says this all ready? You don't always need to say anything about who said what if it's only two characters talking. Example: "I hate cake," Mary said. "Why?" asked Mike. "Well, I don't hate it. I just prefer something less sweet." "try a cheese cake" So you don't have to keep putting said at the end of everything. I did a writing exercise once where we have to tell a story and give sense of characters without using any 'said' tags. Like a screen play. You could play around with that?