“They Say/I Say”The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing Insights and Templates from the book by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
Practice and Basic Moves Think about an activity that you do particularly well • Playing a sport (basketball, football, field hockey, tennis) • Playing an instrument (piano, guitar, flute) • Artwork (drawing, painting, ceramics) • Everyday activities (driving a car, brushing teeth, tying shoes)
Performing this activity depends on: Having learned a series of complicated moves Practice and repetition Same applies to writing: Accomplished writers rely on established moves for communicating sophisticated ideas. Practice and Basic Moves
Entering the Conversation Best Academic Writing • Deeply engages in some way with other people’s views • “write the voices of others into your text” • You enter a conversation, using what others say (or might say) as a launching pad or sounding board for your own ideas.
Entering the Conversation • In the real world we make arguments because someone has said or done something (or perhaps not said or done something) and we need to respond • Ex. • “I can’t see why you like the Lakers so much.” • “I agree: it was a great film.” • “That argument is contradictory.”
Entering the Conversation • Without other people’s opinions there would be no reason to challenge, agree with, or otherwise respond–there would be no reason to argue at all.
Entering the Conversation • To make an impact as a writer you make statements that are: • Logical • Well-supported • Consistent • *ALSO, you must find a way to enter a conversation with others’ views–with something “they say”
Entering the Conversation • If your argument doesn’t identify the “they say” you are responding to, then it probably won’t make sense: • Whatyou are saying may be clear to the audience, but why you are saying it won’t be • Example: “The characters in The Sopranos are very complex.”
Entering the Conversation • Your own argument–the “I say” moment of your text–should always be a response to the arguments of others. • Ex. • “Some say that The Sopranos presents caricatures of Italian Americans. In fact, however, the characters in the series are very complex.”
Entering the Conversation • Templates for agreement: • She argues______, and I agree because_____. • Her argument that ______ is supported by new research showing that _______.
Entering the Conversation • Template for disagreeing: • While she argues ______, I disagree because_______. • The argument he proposes, while persuasive, is inaccurate because______.
Entering the Conversation • Template for conceding and rebutting: • He claims that _______, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I agree that ______. On the other hand, I still insist that_______. • Although I grant that ____, I still maintain that _____.
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • Paraphrase: “translates a short passage from a source into the writer’s own words” (372 Writing Arguments).
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • When to paraphrase: • When wanting to use specific information from a brief passage in the source • When you do not want to interfere with the flow of your own writing by inserting a quote • *Be sure to avoid original writer’s grammatical structure and syntax.
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • What to remember when paraphrasing: • Suspend your own beliefs for a time by putting yourself in the position of the author whose passage your are paraphrasing, so as not to misrepresent their message • Keep in mind your own argument so it fits into your own agenda • Use signal verbs that fit the action: • “urge,” “emphasize,” “insist”
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • When to Quote: • When quoting will strengthen your own argument • Comes from a respected authority • When summarizing an opposing/alternative view and want to use brief quotations to illustrate accuracy • To give readers a sense of the source’s voice • To analyze the writer’s choice of words or metaphors
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • What to remember when quoting: • Quote relevant passages • Frame every quotation (insert it into a “quotation sandwich”) • Statement introducing it as top slice of bread • Explanation following it as the bottom slice of bread
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • Templates for Introducing Quotations (top slice of bread): • X states, “______.” • In X’s view, “_______.” • According to X, _____.”
To Paraphrase Or To Quote, That Is The Question • Templates for Explaining Quotations(bottom slice of bread): • Basically, X is saying ______. • In other words, X believes _______. • In making this comment, X argues that ______.
Let’s Practice • Movie: • Genre: • Criteria of a Good _______ film: • My opinion: • (this film is / is not a good _____ film.)
Let’s Practice • Opposing view: • Reasons they give • Your response: • “(Movie Reviewer’s Name) claims the movie_____ is/does _______. While this appears true, overall the film _______.” • “Although _____ suggests the film _____ is ______, when considering _____ it becomes obvious that ________.”