They say i say
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They Say, I Say. Chapter 4: Yes/No/Okay, But. Three Ways to Respond. The three most common and recognizable ways to respond are to: Disagree Agree with a difference Agree and disagree simultaneously Doing so will allow your reader to place your response on a mental map of familiar choices.

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They Say, I Say

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They say i say

They Say, I Say

Chapter 4: Yes/No/Okay, But


Three ways to respond

Three Ways to Respond

  • The three most common and recognizable ways to respond are to:

    • Disagree

    • Agree with a difference

    • Agree and disagree simultaneously

  • Doing so will allow your reader to place your response on a mental map of familiar choices.


Disagree and explain why

Disagree–and explain why

  • It is not enough to simply claim that you disagree; you need to provide persuasive reasons as to why you disagree.

  • Providing a “why” allows you to prove you have something to contribute to the conversation.


Ways to disagree

Ways to Disagree

  • The “alternative” response: disagreeing with the claims and showing how they are wrong.

  • The “twist it” response: agreeing with the evidence provided, but showing how it actually supports your own opinion.


Templates for disagreeing

Templates for Disagreeing

  • I disagree that (author’s idea) because (reasons).

  • I disagree with (author) about (author’s idea) because (reasons).

  • By saying (author’s idea), (author) overlooks/doesn’t consider (exception/issue with idea).


Agree but with a difference

Agree-but with a difference

  • It is not enough to simply agree with others; you need to also add something new to the conversation.

  • It is important to open up some difference between your position and the one your agreeing with (don’t parrot the ideas of others).

  • Some options:

    • You can apply what the author says to another context (time, location, etc.).

    • You can discuss reasons, important evidence, or implications that the author didn’t bring up.


Templates for agreeing with a difference

Templates for Agreeing with a Difference

  • I agree that (author’s idea) because (reasons/observations).

  • (Author)’s idea that (X) is useful because (reasons).

  • (Reasons/observations) suggest that (Author)’s idea about (idea) is accurate.


Agree and disagree simultaneously

Agree and Disagree Simultaneously

  • Agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously allows you to provide a complex argument.

  • It allows your reader to easily place your opinion on the mental map of positions, while still allowing a thoughtful response.


Ways to agree and disagree

Ways to Agree and Disagree

  • The “stress” response: including agreement and disagreement, but stressing the importance of one over the other.

  • The “mixed feelings” response: showing the “pros” and “cons” of a position without decisively being for or against.


Templates for agreeing and disagreeing

Templates for Agreeing and Disagreeing

  • Although I agree with (Author) about (idea), I disagree that (idea).

  • Although I disagree that (author’s idea), I agree that (idea).

  • (Author)’s claim about (idea) seems (reasonable, logical, etc.). However, his/her assertion that (idea) is (problematic, etc.).

  • Although (Author)’s claims about (idea) may be true (for certain people, in certain situations), they may not be true (for all people, in all cases or instances).


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