They Say, I Say essay

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For this assignment, you will write an argumentative opinion essay. Using annotated articles, various idea drafts, and feedback from your classmates, you will build an argument about the timely topic you’ve chosen.



Write a 1200-1500 word essay that takes a stance (agree, disagree, or both) on the argument set forth by one of the readings in the chapter of They Say, I Say that you select. Your introduction should briefly summarize your topic and your article’s argument in order to quickly move on to communicate your own stance (agree, disagree or both) in regards to article (this should comprise the thesis for your paper). A strong thesis will go beyond observation, stating an opinionated claim based on additional readings, and showing why the claim has greater societal significance.



  • A strong paper will consider the rhetorical context of the topic. This includes the “Why?” and the “So What?” of your paper. To do this, a strong paper will consider the audience, as in, who do you believe needs to hear this information? Why should they think it is relevant/important? Why does it matter for society or the world? Your writing should be directed at us as a class and a “lay reader” – those who might know a bit about your topic but need credible evidence and argumentation to convince them of your position.



  • You will support your stance using evidence from your research. You must reference AT LEAST THREE different sources, with proper citation (review PURDUE OWL).
  1. One of your sources is the opinion article for which your thesis and stance responds.
  2. The remaining two sources can be from your chapter readings or from a reputable news source. You are obviously welcome to use more than three sources.
  • All sources need to be credible and trustworthy. This means any publications or websites from which the article(s) come should be reputable. If you have any questions about whether your sources qualify, feel free to reach out and check with me.
  • Your essay should be structured and organized for clarity of your argument. This means an identifiable introduction; body paragraphs with topic sentences, evidence quoted and analyzed; transitions that show cohesion between your points; and a conclusion.
  • A strong paper will account for counterarguments, anticipating the stance the opposition would take and the evidence they would use to support their claims.
  • Work to show clear, logical connections between the evidence, argument and counterargument.
  • The best papers will have a conclusion that does more than simply restate the thesis. In addition to synthesizing points, a solid conclusion will typically either contribute new thoughts or ideas to the thesis or raise questions for further consideration (or both).



  • STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION: Give considerable time and effort to organizing this essay. You can easily devote a paragraph to each source…
    • Using the first paragraph to introduce your topic and thesis
    • The next paragraph focuses on the main source you are using
    • The next two paragraphs to introduce two separate sources that build on your stance
    • The last paragraph can conclude how all of this proves your argument cohesively and with new insight.
  • You might also use your body paragraphs to first set up your argument, then explore and refute a counterargument, then restate your argument with new evidence. These templates are suggestions to consider and need not be followed precisely as long as your structure is clear and easy to follow.
  • Refer back to Ch. 4 on “Yes, No, Okay but” which has helpful templates for agreeing, disagreeing or doing both simultaneously.
  • You may want to look back on your other essay to keep in mind some of the ways you’ve been asked to grow as a writer thus far. Make use of readings and online resources to seek out tools to help you grow.
  • Revise. Revise. Keep rereading your paper and its components to be on the lookout for errors, ways to better organize your thoughts, and places where you’ll need to transition from one source or one point to the next. Read your essay aloud to find areas in need of refining, and seek out ample feedback


Last Updated on July 11, 2019 by EssayPro