Chapter 4 of “They Say, I Say” is about different ways to introduce your ideas and opinions. There are three ways to respond. Disagreeing, agreeing and doing a combination of both. It starts off by saying why you can’t just straight forwardly spit out your ideas after someone says something. If you just tell people random facts without a proper introduction, they will get frustrated. Not only because you’re not replying properly by telling them what you think of their idea, but because they want to know if you agree with what they say or not. If people have an idea, they’re going to want to know if they’re right or if there’s a flaw anywhere in what they said. That’s why you have to tell them if you agree or disagree and go into further detail with your opinions.
If you disagree, you have to give reasons why and back your idea up with evidence. You can’t just plainly say you disagree without giving a reason because it might hurt the other person’s feelings and make you seem uneducated. If you agree, then you have to also give reasons and add to their views. Maybe they missed important details. Disagreeing and agreeing at the same time is kind of like that where you can disagree, and then say that they forgot an important detail but also agree at the same time. That way it’s not saying that you completely think they’re wrong. It’s basically saying that they’re right but they may have missed out on important points or that they might be right but another way of thinking could make them wrong.
Exercise #1 Read one of the essays in the back of this book, identifying those places where the author agrees with others, disagrees or both.
Hidden Intellectualism, Gerald Graft
“Students do need to read models of intellectually challenging writing—and Orwell is a great one—if they are to become intellectuals themselves. But they would be more prone to take on intellectual identities if we encouraged them to do so at first on subjects that interest them rather than ones that interest us.” Agreeing and disagreeing
“Though I too thought I did not “dig the intellectual bit,” I see now that I was unwittingly in training for it” Disagreeing and then agreeing
“But if this argument suggests why it is a good idea to assign readings and topics that are close to students’ existing interests, it also suggests the limits of this tactic” Agreeing and going into depth on what is missing.