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The formal way of "to say" is... "sagen". This word is entirely fit for any context. "Erwidern", "entgegnen", "antworten"... all those are speech tags too but they do not mean "to say" but rather something along the lines of "to respond".


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Erwidern is quite formal (it is hardly ever used in spoken language outside of legal or political discussions, more commonly encountered in written form). It means to reply to a question or a statement. An alternative that shares the same basic meaning would be entgegnen, which I would also consider rather formal. Antworten is certainly the most common way ...



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