A study in Common Errors and Their Quick Fixes.
Verb and Subject
"I bet you two had a fine time," said Ben.
When using tags, it's unusual to have verb before subject. The general rule of thumb is to use this construction sparingly, as a rare change in pace or flow. In addition, many editors are asking this construction not appear at all in a manuscript.
"I bet you two had a fine time," Ben said.
The Comma and As
"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty asked, wrinkling her nose in distaste.
"I often find little green guys cute. You should try it sometime," Bertha said as she giggled.
In both instances, comma after asked, and ‘as' after said, indicate dialogue tag isn't necessary. Each is greatly improved by removing tag and allowing following sentence to stand on its own.
"Do you kiss toads often? Or are you just a little weird?" Betty wrinkled her nose in distaste.
"I often find little green guys cute. You should try it sometime." Bertha giggled.
Mary scoffed at idea. "I don't think you want me at your party," she replied.
Since we are firmly in Mary's head at point of her dialogue, it can be assumed it is her reply. If you use a tag like this, ask yourself if it's really necessary. Is it obvious this is her reply? Then you don't need it. New writer's struggle with idea that every bit of dialogue needs to be accredited to a character, otherwise reader will be confused. The idea is to write so well from one character's perspective, that reader will immediately tell who's dialogue it is.
Mary scoffed at idea. "I don't think you want me at your party."
Over Explaining Tag
"I don't care if you kiss all frogs in world, you aren't bringing that toad to my party," Shelly warned, her voice rising.
Ask yourself these questions when you find yourself hunting for words to explain dialogue in tag:
Is Shelly's dialogue showing her warning?
Is it clear from what Shelly says that her voice is rising?
What am I trying to show Shelly feeling with this tag?
You won't need to ask yourself these questions as you discover your own style more, but in meantime, it's a good idea to look through your tags to see if any of them could be replaced, or simply deleted. Her outrage could have been shown much better by this sentence: