Essay on Not Say / I Say By Gerald Graff And Cathy Birkenstein

1263 Words Sep 28th, 2015 null Page
Throughout my entire high school career, I was taught that to write an exemplary piece of academic writing, I needed to avoid personal pronouns, and in order to argue successfully, I needed to fully agree or disagree with presented facts. However, the book “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, contradicts all of the rules I was to follow in previous courses. The authors go so far as to suggest simultaneously agreeing and disagreeing with certain aspects of an argument to show deeper understanding of the topic being discussed, an impossibility in the eyes of former teachers. In response to using personal pronouns, Graff and Birkenstein write, “…Prohibiting the first person tends to hamper students’ ability not only to take strong positions but to differentiate their own positions from those of others…” (xxiv). To put it another way, avoiding the use of “I, me, we” enables students to adopt the views of others without being forced to think critically about what is being said and make their own opinions on the matter. I agree with this statement, as I was able to successfully write numerous papers in high school without ever once formulating my own ideas or implementing my voice. By removing subjectivity in an essay, the writer is reduced to merely illuminating the ideas of others. In this essay, I will summarize the advice put forth in “They Say/I Say” and argue that the advice is sound. In the introduction, Graff…

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