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“They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing

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    “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing In the introduction to “They Say/ I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein provide templates throughout the first six chapters in the book. The writers specifically designed these templates to make it easier on the write on how to write a professional and well written paper. It structures and expresses your own writing in words you couldn’t think to express. A unique feature is the way they present the templates, it help you enter a world of successful thinking and organization in your piece. The most important formula that was given to use is “they say…; I say…” which gives the book its title. This formula simply means that don’t only express your ideas with “I say…” but also responding to other people’s ideas with “they say…” This formula doesn’t only paraphrase our own ideas but also closely listens to what others say about the idea. You should enter a conversation with an argument so readers and listeners are more hooked on the discussion. An argument is key to a conversation. Starting with what others are saying “they say…” the most important thing of writing is to not only specify your thesis is, but what the larger picture that the thesis is implying to.

    After reading chapter one “They Say” Starting with What Others Are Saying, I understood the meaning of order in a passage and how to write a well-written passage. You must engage in the audience, the writer needs to explain what they are replying to. If you become unsuccessful in doing this, you lose the readers train of thought. The readers mind will soon wonder aimlessly on something else and not in your essay. Creating an essay with an argument, keeps the reader hooked and engaged in what you are saying. I learned that you should start off by stating what others say first, then engage with your idea last. Chapter two “Her Point Is” The Art of Summarizing, talks about writing a good summary. Writing a good summary requires pairing what the original author said, with what the writers own version. A summary also must be accurate to what the original author says while highlighting aspects that caught your eye as if you are the writer. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will voice out your own beliefs in this way. Eventually being more experience, you will create summaries that are so clearly similar with what the original writer wrote but in your own words. In chapter three “As He Himself Put It” The Art of Quoting, I learned how and when to quote.

    The key for quoting is picking a quote that you can argue from. For example they use “they say…” as an example, always use quotation on something that somebody else said. It gives you the writer, a remarkable amount of integrity to our summary and helps make sure that it is open-minded and factual. The quotation method also gives you proof of evidence and reinsurance of what you are saying and you just aren’t making it up. You always want to site quotations, it’s better to do it then not do it. If you do it incorrectly and use other peoples words it is called plagiarism. There is two significant ways to make a proper quotation; one way is by selecting quotations carefully, you want your quote to support the text you are writing. Another tip is having a reason why you elected that quote. Talk about who said this, what it means to you and how the quotation relates to your text. Think about “they say…” when you chose, and if you could give it a response with “I say…” it must always make sense with what you’re trying to point out. In chapter four “Yes/ No/ Okay, But” Three Ways to Respond, it teachers the reader how to state an argument and how to go from there. The “I say…” method is where you often see arguments happen, it gives a responds to “they say…” You don’t have to be intelligent to start an argument, but this method should apply to your everyday life. In this chapter it focuses on three familiar ways to respond, “…agreeing, disagreeing, or some combination of both.” (Graff 56). When the reader takes a while to make their judgment on the writer view, then the writer did something wrong. Finding something you disagree with is the easy way out, find something you don’t feel certain about or don’t agree with and go from there. If agreeing with the writer you can’t really talk much about without copying what the writer already spoke about. If you do agree add a new idea in the story.

    The important thing with agreeing is to make sure open up some difference and directions other than going along with it, mimicking what they are saying. When not sure what side you believe is true and you start becoming indecisive when choosing sides can be expressive and could capture both sides attention. In chapter five “And Yet” Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say, talks about how to be organized you talk. Lots of times people get confused from what they say to what you say mix up. To determine who is saying what in the text you read, pay attention to the voice of the author. How does his/her tone sound in certain situations? The last chapter which is six
    “Skeptics May Object” Planting a Naysayer in Your Text, is talking about how to embed a negative view in your text. Although we take criticism at heart, it actually works for our advantage. Criticism boosts our believability, not to weaken it when writing. You should represent your piece with firmness and generosity; you want to make people listen to what writer has to say. When speaking you want the readers to be engaged and make them choose your side of why you argue, you want their voices think “This is a writer I can trust.” (Graff 86). Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, the writers of “They Say/I Say” specifically designed this book to make it easier for new writers on how to write a professional and well written paper.

    Having a conversation should have dimension and argumentum issues. One advice I learned in this book is “…write the voices of others into your text.” (Graff 3). What that means is that speak for others. Putting their thoughts in “they say…” format tells people what they are saying without being upfront. Arguing back with “I say…” format leads people in having an opinion. Starting with what others are saying “they say…” the most important thing of writing is to not only specify your thesis is, but what the larger picture that the thesis is implying to.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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