Skip to main content

QEP Writing Through Revision

They Say/I Say


In They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein claim that “Academic writing in particular calls upon writers not simply to express their own ideas, but to do so as a response to what others have said” (ix).

In other words, think of your argument (or your student’s argument) in terms of what the authorities or conventional wisdom maintains about a given topic (THEY say) and how what YOU think (or your students think) differs (I say).

How do we go about incorporating “what they say” versus “what I say” into our work?

Easy!  The beauty of Graff and Birkenstein’s book is that they provide TEMPLATES for how you might go about adding this into your work.

The following are some examples from “They Say/I Say” that you, or your students, can incorporate into their work (refer to the “Active Learning Tasks” tab on the QEP Libguide for information on how you can incorporate this learning into your classroom).  It is just as easy as filling in the blanks!

Example: I disagree with Black’s view that chocolate is the least favorite flavor of ice cream because, as recent research has shown, chocolate is actually the most requested flavor at all ice cream shops nation wide. 

See below for an example assignment that shows how you may implement these templates into your classroom!

They Say/I Say examples from book

This helpful book provides a series of templates and ideas for that can help fast-track students into successful academic and argumentative writing.