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Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $45.00
  • December 2014
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93843-2
  • 816 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

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"They Say / I Say"

The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, with Readings

Third High School Edition


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Gerald Graff (Author, University of Illinois at Chicago), Cathy Birkenstein (Author, University of Illinois at Chicago), Russel Durst (Author, University of Cincinnati)


The best-selling text/reader on academic writing, now in a high school hardcover edition.

“They Say / I Say” with Readings shows that writing well means mastering some key rhetorical moves, the most important of which is to summarize what others have said ("they say") in order to set up one's own argument ("I say"). Templates help students make these moves in their own writing, and 40+ readings demonstrate the moves and prompt students to think—and write.


40+ Readings on 5 Issues That Matter to Students Today:

• Is College the Best Option?
• Are We in a Race against the Machine?
• What Should We Eat?
• What’s Up with the American Dream?
• What’s Gender Got to Do with It?

Readings reflect a range of ideological perspectives and can serve as sources for students’ own writing.

Each selection is followed by five study questions, including one that functions as a writing prompt, and each chapter includes at least one scholarly piece and one piece written by a student. More than half of the readings in this edition are new, including Sheryl Sandberg on “leaning in,” bell hooks’ argument that women need to “step out,” Clive Thompson on how technology is changing our minds for the better, and more. 

Two Books in One

The rhetoric is in the front and readings are in the back, making the book easy to use—and easy to teach. Cross-references in the margins lead students from the rhetoric to specific examples in the readings, and from the readings to the corresponding writing instruction. Teachers can use these to center their classes on either writing instruction or readings, and the links will help them draw from the other part. 

They Say / I Blog

“They Say / I Say” teaches the moves for joining conversations and provides conversations students can join—and a space for doing so. The blog—updated monthly—features questions for both writing assignments and in-class discussions, as well as current articles relating to issues covered in the book. 

    *New to the Third 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

    Part 3. Tying It All Together
    8. “As a Result”: Connecting the Parts
    9. “Ain’t So / Is Not”: Academic Writing Doesn’t Always Mean Setting Aside Your Own Voice
    10. “But Don't Get Me Wrong”: The Art of Metacommentary
    *11. “He Talks About Deplores”: Using the Templates to Revise

    Part 4. In Specific Academic Settings
    12. “I Take Your Point”: Entering Class Discussions
    *13. “IMHO”: Is Digital Communication Good or Bad — or Both?
    14.“What’s Motivating This Writer?”: Reading for the Conversation
    *15. “On Closer Examination”: Entering Conversations about Literature
    16. “The Data Suggest”: Writing in the Sciences
    17. “Analyze This”: Writing in the Social Sciences

    David Zinczenko, Don’t Blame the Eater
    Gerald Graff, Hidden Intellectualism
    Richard A. Muller, Nuclear Waste
    Barbara Ehrenreich, The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
    Flannery O'Connor, Everything That Rises Must Converge

    Index of Templates