They Say, I Say Writing Templates

SOURCE: They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, 4th edition (affiliate link). Perhaps the most helpful and practical book on academic writing!

Disagreeing Without Being Disagreeable

  • While I understand the impulse to A, my own view is B.
  • While I agree with X that Y, I cannot accept her overall conclusion that Z.
  • While X argues Y, and I argue Z, in a way we’re both right.

The Template Of Templates

In recent discussions of A, a controversial issue has been whether B. On the one hand, some argue that C. From this perspective, D. On the other hand, however, others argue that E. In the words of F, one of this view’s main proponents, “G.” According to this view, H. In sum, then, the issue is whether I or J.

My own view is that K. Though I concede that L, I still maintain that M. For example, N. Although some might object that O, I would reply that P. The issue is important because Q.

Introducing What “They Say”

  • A number of have recently suggested that X.
  • It has become common today to dismiss X.
  • In their recent work, A and B have offered harsh critiques of C for D.

Introducing “Standard Views”

  • Americans today tend to believe that X.
  • Conventional wisdom has it that X.
  • Common sense seems to dictate that X.
  • The standard way of thinking about topic X has it that Y.
  • It is often said that X.
  • My whole life I have heard it said that X.
  • You would think that X.
  • Many people assume that X.

Making What “They Say” Something You Say

  • I’ve always believed that X.
  • When I was a child, I used to think that X.
  • Although I should know better by now, I cannot help thinking that X.
  • At the same time that I believe X, I also believe Y.

Introducing Something Implied Or Assumed

  • Although none of them have ever said so directly, my teachers have often given me the impression that X.
  • One implication of X’s treatment of Y is that Z.
  • Although X does not say so directly, she apparently assumes that Y.
  • While they rarely admit as much, X often take for granted that Y.

Introducing An Ongoing Debate

  • In discussions of X, one controversial issue has been A. On the one hand, B argues C. On the other hand, D contends E. Others even maintain F. My own view is G.
  • When it comes to the topic of X, most of us will readily agree that A. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of B. Whereas some are convinced that C, others maintain that D.
  • In conclusion, then, as I suggested earlier, defenders of X can’t have it both ways. Their assertion that Y is contradicted by their claim that Z.

Capturing Authorial Action

  • X acknowledges that .
  • X agrees that .
  • X argues that .
  • X believes that .
  • X celebrates the fact that .
  • X claims that .
  • X complains that .
  • X concedes that .
  • X demonstrates that .
  • X denies/does not deny that .
  • X deplores the tendency to .
  • X emphasizes that .
  • X insists that .
  • X observes that .
  • X questions whether .
  • X refutes the claim that .
  • X reminds us that .
  • X reports that .
  • X suggests that .
  • X urges us to .

Introducing Quotations

  • X states, “ .”
  • As the prominent philosopher X puts it, “ .”
  • According to X, “ .”
  • X himself writes, “ .”
  • In her book, , X maintains that “ ”
  • Writing in the journal , X complains that “ .”
  • In X’s view, “ .”
  • X agrees when she writes, “ .”
  • X disagrees when he writes, “ .”
  • X complicates matters further when he writes, “ .”

Explaining Quotations

  • Basically, X is saying .
  • In other words, X believes .
  • In making this comment, X urges us to .
  • X is corroborating the age-old adage that .
  • X’s point is that .
  • The essence of X’s argument is that .

Disagreeing, With Reasons

  • I think X is mistaken because she overlooks .
  • X’s claim that rests upon the questionable assumption that .
  • I disagree with X’s view that because, as recent research has shown, .
  • X contradicts herself / can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, she argues . On the other hand, she also says .
  • By focusing on , X overlooks the deeper problem of .

Agreeing—With A Difference

  • I agree that because my experience confirms it.
  • X surely is right about because, as she may not be aware, recent studies have shown that .
  • X’s theory of is extremely useful because it sheds insight on the difficult problem of .
  • Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that it basically boils down to .
  • I agree that , a point that needs emphasizing since so many people believe .
  • If group X is right that , as I think they are, then we need to reassess the popular assumption that .

Agreeing And Disagreeing Simultaneously

  • Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that .
  • Although I disagree with much that X says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that .
  • Though I concede that , I still insist that .
  • Whereas X provides ample evidence that , Y and Z’s research on and convinces me that instead.
  • X is right that , but she seems on more dubious ground when she claims that .
  • While X is probably wrong when she claims that , she is right that .
  • I’m of two minds about X’s claim that . On the one hand, I agree that . On the other hand, I’m not sure if .
  • My feelings on the issue are mixed. I do support X’s position that , but I find Y’s argument about and Z’s research on to be equally persuasive.

Signaling Who Is Saying What

  • X argues .
  • According to both X and Y, .
  • Politicians , X argues, should .
  • Most athletes will tell you that .
  • My own view, however, is that .
  • I agree, as X may not realize, that .
  • But are real and, arguably, the most significant factor in .
  • But X is wrong that .
  • However, it is simply not true that .
  • Indeed, it is highly likely that .
  • X’s assertion that does not fit the facts.
  • X is right that .
  • X is wrong that .
  • X is both right and wrong that .
  • Yet a sober analysis of the matter reveals .
  • Nevertheless, new research shows .
  • Anyone familiar with should agree that .

Embedding Voice Markers

  • X overlooks what I consider an important point about .
  • My own view is that what X insists is a is in fact a .
  • I wholeheartedly endorse what X calls .
  • These conclusions, which X discusses in , add weight to the argument that .

Entertaining Objections

  • At this point I would like to raise some objections that have been inspired by the skeptic in me. She feels that I have been ignoring . “ ,” she says to me, “ .”
  • Yet some readers may challenge the view that .
  • Of course, many will probably disagree with this assertion that .

Naming Your Naysayers

  • Here many would probably object that .
  • But would certainly take issue with the argument that .
  • , of course, may want to question whether .
  • Nevertheless, both followers and critics of will probably argue that .
  • Although not all think alike, some of them will probably dispute my claim that .
  • are so diverse in their views that it’s hard to generalize about them, but some are likely to object on the grounds that .

Introducing Objections Informally

  • But is my proposal realistic? What are the chances of its actually being adopted?
  • Yet is it always true that ? Is it always the case, as I have been suggesting, that ?
  • However, does the evidence I’ve cited prove conclusively that ?
  • “Impossible,” some will say. “You must be reading the research selectively.”

Making Concessions While Still Standing Your Ground

  • Although I grant that , I still maintain that .
  • Proponents of X are right to argue that . But they exaggerate when they claim that .
  • While it is true that , it does not necessarily follow that .
  • On the one hand, I agree with X that . But on the other hand, I still insist that .

Indicating Who Cares

  • used to think . But recently [or within the past few decades] suggests that .
  • These findings challenge the work of earlier researchers, who tended to assume that .
  • Recent studies like these shed new light on , which previous studies had not addressed.
  • Researchers have long assumed that . For instance, one eminent scholar of cell biology, , assumed in , her seminal work on cell structures and functions, that fat cells . As herself put it, “ ” (2012). Another leading scientist, , argued that fat cells “ ” (2011). Ultimately, when it came to the nature of fat, the basic assumption was that .
  • But a new body of research shows that fat cells are far more complex and that .
  • If sports enthusiasts stopped to think about it, many of them might simply assume that the most successful athletes . However, new research shows .
  • These findings challenge neoliberals’ common assumptions that .
  • At first glance, teenagers appear to . But on closer inspection .

Establishing Why Your Claims Matter

  • X matters / is important because .
  • Although X may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern over .
  • Ultimately, what is at stake here is .
  • These findings have important consequences for the broader domain of .
  • My discussion of X is in fact addressing the larger matter of .
  • These conclusions / This discovery will have significant applications in as well as in .
  • Although X may seem of concern to only a small group of , it should in fact concern anyone who cares about .

Commonly Used Transitions


  • also
  • and
  • besides
  • furthermore
  • in addition
  • in fact
  • indeed
  • moreover
  • so too


  • actually
  • by extension
  • in other words
  • in short
  • that is
  • to put it another way
  • to put it bluntly
  • to put it succinctly
  • ultimately


  • after all
  • as an illustration
  • consider
  • for example
  • for instance
  • specifically
  • to take a case in point

Cause and Effect

  • accordingly
  • as a result
  • consequently
  • hence
  • it follows, then
  • since
  • so
  • then
  • therefore
  • thus


  • along the same lines
  • in the same way
  • likewise
  • similarly


  • although
  • but
  • by contrast
  • conversely
  • despite
  • even though
  • however
  • in contrast
  • nevertheless
  • nonetheless
  • on the contrary
  • on the other hand
  • regardless
  • whereas
  • while
  • yet


  • admittedly
  • although it is true that
  • granted
  • I concede that
  • naturally
  • of course
  • to be sure


  • as a result
  • consequently
  • hence
  • in conclusion, then
  • in short
  • in sum, then
  • it follows, then
  • so
  • the upshot of all this is that
  • therefore
  • thus
  • to sum up
  • to summarize

Translation Recipes

  • Scholar X argues, “ .” In other words, .
  • Essentially, X argues .
  • X’s point, succinctly put, is that .
  • Plainly put, .

Adding Metacommentary

  • In other words, .
  • What really means by this is .
  • Ultimately, my goal is to demonstrate that .
  • My point is not , but .
  • To put it another way, .
  • In sum, then, .
  • My conclusion, then, is that, .
  • In short, .
  • What is more important, .
  • Incidentally, .
  • By the way, .
  • Chapter 2 explores , while Chapter 3 examines .
  • Having just argued that , let us now turn our attention to .
  • Although some readers may object that , I would answer that .

Linking To What “They Say”

  • As X mentions in this article, “ .”
  • In making this comment, X warns that .
  • Economists often assume ; however, new research by X suggests .

Introducing Gaps In The Existing Research

  • Studies of X have indicated . It is not clear, however, that this conclusion applies to .
  • often take for granted that . Few have investigated this assumption, however.
  • X’s work tells us a great deal about . Can this work be generalized to ?
  • Our understanding of remains incomplete because previous work has not examined .

By joshuapsteele

The Rev. Dev. I solve problems with a pastor's heart for people and a programmer's eye for detail. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.