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Book Review: “They Say I Say”

Chapter 8 in the book discusses forming a cohesive whole out of the disparate thoughts gathered by the author for their writing. Graff and Birkenstein (2014) recommend using transitions and pointing words as well as repeating key terms, phrases, and longer passages (in a different manner). The aim of all these methods is to create a flow throughout the paper, with the general topics being continuous and elaborated upon and the individual sentences connected to each other. By doing so, the author can make their writing easier and less frustrating to read, as it is connected both backward and forward.

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Pointing words are one idea that the author can incorporate into their works to improve their overall quality. They inherently enable connectivity between sentences by referring to their subjects. With that said, Graff and Birkenstein (2014) warn against overusing the technique, as the object that is being referred to needs to be clear. Otherwise, the pointing word will only create confusion, interrupt the paper’s flow, and irritate the reader. The author will try to improve their understanding of where these words are appropriate and start using them more frequently.

The second method that the author will try to incorporate more into their writing is repetition. As Graff and Birkenstein (2014) note, it can be used alongside each of the three methods discussed to help one gradually develop an argument. By rephrasing oneself before engaging in the development of new ideas, the author can clarify the flow of their thoughts for the reader. The author will try to engage in the practice without repeating themselves too similarly and use repetition where appropriate to create logical flows in their papers.

Reference

Graff, G., & Birkenstein, C. (2014). “They say I say:” The moves that matter in academic writing (3rd ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.

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