Title They Say / I Say, 4/e
Subtitle The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing
Author Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein
ISBN 9780393631678
List price USD 27.50
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 352
Book size 134 x 197 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
About the book


“Many students say that it is the first book they’ve found that actually helps them with writing in all disciplines.”

Laura Sonderman, Marshall University


“A brilliant book .... It’s like a membership card in the academic club.”

—Eileen Seifert, DePaul University


“This book demystifies rhetorical moves, tricks of the trade that many students are unsure about. It’s reasonable, helpful, nicely written ... and hey, it’s true. I would have found it immensely helpful myself in high school and college.”

—Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles


“The argument of this book is important—that there are ‘moves’ to academic writing ... and that knowledge of them can be generative. The template format is a good way to teach and demystify the moves that matter. I like this book a lot.”

—David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh


“Students need to walk a fine line between their work and that of others, and this book helps them walk that line, providing specific methods and techniques for introducing, explaining, and integrating other voices with their own ideas.”

—Libby Miles, University of Vermont


“A beautifully lucid way to approach argument—different from any rhetoric I’ve ever seen.”

—Anne-Marie Thomas, Austin Community College, Riverside


“It offers students the formulas we, as academic writers, all carry in our heads.”

Karen Gardiner, University of Alabama


“The best tribute to ‘They Say / I Say’ I’ve heard is this, from a student: ‘This is one book I’m not selling back to the bookstore.’ Nods all around the room. The students love this book.”

—Christine Ross, Quinnipiac University


“What effect has ‘They Say’ had on my students’ writing? They are finally entering the Burkian Parlor of the university. This book uncovers the rhetorical conventions that transcend disciplinary boundaries, so that even freshmen, newcomers to the academy, are immediately able to join in the conversation.”

—Margaret Weaver, Missouri State University


“It’s the anti-composition text : Fun, creative, humorous, brilliant, effective.”

—Perry Cumbie, Durham Technical Community College


“This book explains in clear detail what skilled writers take for granted.”

—John Hyman, American University


“The ability to engage with the thoughts of others is one of the most important skills taught in any college-level writing course, and this book does as good a job teaching that skill as any text I have ever encountered.”

—William Smith, Weatherford College


“Students find this book tremendously helpful—they report that it has ‘demystified’ academic writing for them.”

—Karen Gocsik, University of California at San Diego


“I love ‘They Say / I Say,’ and more importantly, so do my students.”

0151Catherine Hayter, Saddleback College


“’They Say / I Say’ reveals the language of academic writing in a way that students seem to understand and incorporate more easily than they do with other writing books. Instead of a list of don’ts, the book provides a catalog of do’s, which is always more effective.”

—Amy Lea Clemons, Francis Marion University


“This book makes the implicit rules of academic writing explicit for students. It’s the book I really wish I’d had when I was an undergraduate.”

—Steven Bailey, Central Michigan University


The best-selling book that demystifies academic writing

This book identifies the key rhetorical moves in academic writing. It shows students how to frame their arguments as a response to what others have said and provides templates to help them start making the moves. The fourth edition features many NEW examples from academic writing, a NEW chapter on Entering Online Discussions, and a thoroughly updated chapter on Writing in the Social Sciences. Finally, two NEW readings provide current examples of the rhetorical moves in action.


Prefaceto the Fourth Edition


Demystifying Academic Conversation


Entering the Conversation

Part 1. “They Say”

Chapter 1 :  “They Say”

Starting with What Others Are Saying

Chapter 2 :  “Her Point Is”

The Art of Summarizing

Chapter 3 : “As He Himself Puts It”

The Art of Quoting

Part 2. “I Say”

Chapter 4 :  “Yes / No / Okay, But”

Three Ways to Respond

Chapter 5 : “And Yet”

Distinguishing What You Say from What They Say

Chapter 6 : “Skeptics May Object”

Planting a Naysayer in Your Text

Chapter 7 : “So What? Who Cares?”

Saying Why It Matters

Part 3. Tying It All Together

Chapter 8 : “As a Result”

Connecting the Parts

Chapter 9 : “You Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?”

Academic Writing Doesn’t Mean Setting Aside Your Own Voice

Chapter 10 : “But Don’t Get Me Wrong”

The Art of Metacommentary

Chapter 11: “He Says Contends”

Using the Templates to Revise

Part 4. In Specific Academic Contexts

Chapter 12 :  “I Take Your Point”

Entering Class Discussions

Chapter 13 : “Don’t make Them Scroll Up”

Entering Online Conversations

Chapter 14 :  “What’s Motivating This Writer?”

Reading for the Conversation

Chapter 15 :  “On Closer Examination”

Entering Conversations about Literature

Chapter 16 :  “The Data Suggest”

Writing in the Sciences

Chapter 17 :  “Analyze This”

Writing in the Social Sciences


Don’t Blame the Eater (David Zinczenko)

Hidden Intellectualism (Gerald Graff)

Rise of the Machines Is Not a Likely Future (Michael Littman)

The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Michelle Alexander)

Everything that Rises Must Converge (Flannery O’Connor)



Index of Templates

About the Authors:

Gerald Graff, Emeritus Professor of English and Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the 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. The new Common Core State Standards for K-12 cite his work on the importance of argument literacy for college and career readiness.

Cathy Birkenstein, a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has published essays on writing, most recently in College English, and, with Gerald, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and College Composition and Communication. She and Gerald have given over a hundred lectures and workshops at colleges, conferences, and high schools—and are at present working on a book contending that our currently confusing school and college curriculum needs to be clarified by making the practice of argument the common thread across all disciplines.


Target Audience:

Students interested in Academic Writing.

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