"They Say / I Say": The Moves that Matter in Persuasive Writing

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"The Strunk & White of academic writing."—Richard Bullock, Wright State University

As employers, politicians, parents, and other citizens lament the decline of writing skills among Americans, this little book comes to the rescue. An instant bestseller when it first appeared as a college textbook, "They Say / I Say" gives writers precisely what they need to know in the all-important domain of persuasive writing. Cutting through the clutter of educational diagnoses and nostrums, it goes right to the heart of what writers most need to do, and that is to listen to what others are saying (they say), summarize it, and then offer their own argument (I say) as a response. Offering user-friendly templates to help writers make these key moves in their own writing, "They Say / I Say" is already being called the Strunk & White of persuasive writing.

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About the Author:

Gerald Graff, a Professor of English and Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and 2008 President of the Modern Language Association of America, has had a major impact on teachers through such books as Professing Literature: An Institutional History, Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education, and, most recently, Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind.

Cathy Birkenstein is a lecturer in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co-director of the Writing in the Disciplines program. She has published essays on writing, most recently in College English, and, with Gerald Graff, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and College Composition and Communication.  She has also given talks and workshops with Gerald at numerous colleges and is currently working on a study of common misunderstandings surrounding academic discourse.

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Graff, Gerald; Birkenstein, Cathy
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