State Your Ideas as a Response to OthersAcademic writing is argumentative writing. To argue effectively, you need to use the ideas of others as the basis of your own ideas. In order to make an impact as a writer, we need to identify how our ideas are responding to what “they say.” Using the “they say, I say” format can help you “to disagree with others, to challenge standard ways of thinking, and thus to stir up controversy” (7).
Ways of RespondingThere can be a variety of ways to respond towhat others say. For example, you may: Disagree with what they say Agree with what they say Both agree and disagree with what they say
Putting in Your OarThe purpose of looking at writing from this view isto become a critical thinker who: Is not passively recounting ideas Can participate in conversations and debates Can build informed ideas Can become an engaged member of society.
Starting with What Others Are SayingIt is often important to “start with what others aresaying” in order to explain what you areresponding to (18).Doing this provides a context or frame into whichyour ideas or arguments can provide a newvoice.It‟s a good idea to present “your own position andthe one it‟s responding to together, and to thinkof the two as a unit” (19). This presentationshould happen at the beginning of yourtext, preferably in the introduction.
Keep What “They Say” in ViewIn addition to presenting what “they say” at thebeginning of your text, “it is very important tocontinue to keep those ideas in view” (25).One way of doing so is to create a returnsentence that “keep[s] returning to the motivating„they say‟” (26).Return sentences “help to ensure that yourargument is a genuine response to other‟s viewsrather than just a set of observations about agiven subject” (26).