They Say/I Say Intro & Chp 1


In the introduction of the book “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Godd and Kathy Birkenstein provideĀ templates designed to structure an essay for someone. Specifically, Graff and Birkenstein argue that the the types of writing templates they offer will allow for a well written paper that holds a clear argument for the reader. As the authors themselves put it, “In our view, then, the best academic writing has one underlying feature: it is deeply engaged in some way with other people’s views.” Although some people believe that it is “possible to argue effectively without being in conversationĀ with someone else,” Graff and Birkenstein insist that doing that “but it leaves out the important fact that in the real world we don’t make arguments without being provoked.” These types of arguments are very complex, and they require a lot of thinking and time.

I agree with their writings. I feel as though that the types of templates they provide are an excellent way to structure essays, and they will help create a strong argument in a paper. These types of templates that they provide will give the reader a clear set of “directions” where he would state his opinion, and analyze the opinion of others as well.


Chapter 1:

The purpose of chapter one is to discuss the importance of what others are saying as well as your own opinions. Don’t leave any important information out; you don’t want your audience guessing what your work is about. If something important is left out of a paper, then it is confusing and is worth nothing, so people need to make sure that people who have no idea what the author is talking about at first can understand the message he is trying to give through his work.

“Remember that you are entering a conversation and therefore need to start with ‘what others are saying,’ as the title of this chapter recommends, and then introduce your own ideas as a response.” (pg 20-21)

“This story illustrates an important lesson; that to give writing the most important thing of all-namely, a point-a writer needs to indicate clearly not only what his or her thesis is, but also what larger conversation that thesis is responding to.” (pg 20)

“The point is to give your readers a quick preview of what is motivating your argument, not to drown them in details right away. ” (pg 21)


I feel as though this depends on the topic that someone is writing about…However, if someone is reading a paper, they want to know what it is about before they read it, or even the first couple of sentences in, so if we talk about the people’s opinions first, what is going to draw the reader in to read more?

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