Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings, 4th Edition

  • Cathy Birkenstein
  • Gerald Graff
  • Russel Durst
  • ISBN-10: 0393631680
  • ISBN-13: 9780393631685
  • 0 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

The best-selling book on academic writing, with readings

The book that has taught millions of students to present their arguments as a response to what “they say” has been expanded to define as broadly as possible who’s included in “they.” Readings demonstrate the moves that matter in academic writing and represent a multitude of perspectives. The Fourth Edition includes an anthology of 40 readings—half of which are NEW—that will prompt students to listen, think, and write about five important issues, including NEW “How Can We Bridge the Differences That Divide Us?”


  • Demystifies academic writing They Say / I Say teaches students the rhetorical moves found in persuasive writing across all disciplines. The authors focus on the central rhetorical move that gives the book its title: how to begin with what others have said ("they say") in order to set up one's own argument ("I say"). The approach is practical and effective, and the language is engaging and jargon-free.

  • Shows that writing well means engaging with and listening to others’ views The book and its accompanying media teach the rhetorical moves that are central to academic writing across the disciplines. Students learn to develop ideas not in isolation but as a response to what others are already saying. For example, "I disagree with X's view that because ," "Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept her assumption that ."

  • Provides templates for making the rhetorical moves that matter Students need a place to start. The straightforward templates help students with the structure and language to make sophisticated rhetorical moves in their writing.

Table of Contents

*New to the edition

Preface: Demystifying Academic Conversation
Introduction: Entering the Conversation

Part 1. “THEY SAY”
1. “They Say”: Starting with What Others Are Saying
2. “Her Point Is”: The Art of Summarizing
3. “As He Himself Puts It”: The Art of Quoting

Part 2. “I SAY”
4. “Yes / No / Okay, But”: Three Ways to Respond
5. “And Yet”: Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say
6. “Skeptics May Object”: Planting a Naysayer in Your Text
7. “So What? Who Cares?”: Saying Why It Matters

8. “As a Result”: Connecting the Parts
9. "You Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?": Academic Writing Doesn't Mean Setting Aside Your Own Voice
10. “But Don't Get Me Wrong”: The Art of Metacommentary
11. “He Says Contends”: Using the Templates to Revise

12. “I Take Your Point”: Entering Class Discussions
*13. Don't Assume They'll Scroll Up: Entering Online Conversations
14. “What’s Motivating This Writer?”: Reading for the Conversation
15. “Analyze This”: Writing in the Social Sciences

16. How Can We Bridge the Differences That Divide Us?
*Sean Blanda, The Other Side Is Not Dumb
*danah boyd, Why America Is Self-Segregating
*Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (documented)
*J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
*Gabriela Moro, Minority Student Clubs: Segregation or Integration? (student essay, documented)
*Robert Leonard, Why Rural America Voted for Trump
*Joseph Stiglitz, A Tax System Stacked against the 99 Percent
*Barack Obama, Howard Commencement Address

17. Is College the Best Option?
Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill, Should Everyone Go to College? (documented)
Sanford Ungar, The New Liberal Arts
Charles Murray, Are Too Many People Going to College? (documented)
Liz Addison, Two Years Are Better than Four
Gerald Graff, Hidden Intellectualism
Mike Rose, Blue-Collar Brilliance
*Ben Casselman, Shut Up about Harvard
*Steve Kolowich, On the Front Lines of a New Culture War

18. Are We in a Race against the Machine?

Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Clive Thompson, Smarter than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better
Michaela Cullington, Does Texting Affect Writing? (student essay)
*Jenna Wortham, How I Learned to Love Snapchat
*Carole Cadwalladr, Google, Democracy and the Truth about Internet Search
*Kenneth Goldsmith, Go Ahead: Waste Time on the Internet
Sherry Turkle, No Need to Call
*Zeynep Tufecki, Does a Protest’s Size Matter?

19. What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All
Richard Dorment, Why Men Still Can’t Have It All”
*Raynard Kington, I’m Gay and African American . . .
*Laurie Frankel, From He to She in First Grade
*Andrew Reiner, Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest
Stephen Mays, What about Gender Roles in Same-Sex Relationships? (student essay)
*Kate Crawford, Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem
*Nicholas Eberstadt, Men Without Work (documented)

20. What’s There to Eat?
Michael Pollan, Escape from the Western Diet
*Olga Khazan, Why Don’t Convenience Stores Sell Better Food?
Mary Maxfield, Food as Thought: Resisting the Moralization of Eating (student essay)
David Zinczenko, Don’t Blame the Eater
Radley Balko, What You Eat Is Your Business
Michael Moss, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
David H. Freedman, How Junk Food Can End Obesity
*Sara Goldrick-Rab, Katharine Broton, Emily Brunjes Colo, Expanding the National School Lunch Program to Higher Education

New to this edition

  • Readings on issues that matter The Fourth Edition includes 40 readings (22 of which are NEW) that represent a multitude of perspectives organized around 5 conversations. Michelle Alexander on mass incarceration; Sherry Turkle on romance in a digital age; J.D. Vance on the American Dream that is vanishing for so many Americans—these are just a few examples of the readings that will prompt students to listen, think, and write.
  • Now with more support—in print and online Instructor resources now include more ideas and strategies for teaching academic writing. A print Instructor's Guide, NEW online tutorials, and a blog updated regularly with timely readings help you plan and teach your writing course.