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Transitions and Metacommentary in Essays

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Title: Transitions and Metacommentary in Essays


1
Transitions and Metacommentary in Essays

VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.ENGLISH/OKSTATE.EDU/WRITIN
G
Oklahoma State University Writing Center
2
Writing Center Locations
  • Morrill Hall 104
  • Monday-Friday, 930 a.m. 530 p.m
  • 744-6671
  • The Outpost _at_ Edmon Low Library Room 102M
  • Sunday-Thursday, 700 p.m. 1000 p.m.
  • Drop-in location
  • The Writing Studio _at_ the Cunningham Architecture
    Library Room 160C
  • Tuesday Thursday, 1000 a.m. 200 p.m.
  • Monday Thursday, 700 p.m. 900 p.m.
  • Drop-in location

3
Introduction
  • Take a look at this sentence from
  • Martin Luther King Jr.s Letter from Birmingham
    Jail

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in
Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to
say, fails to express a similar concern for the
conditions that brought about the demonstrations.
What move is King making here?
4
Introduction, Continued
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in
Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to
say, fails to express a similar concern for the
conditions that brought about the demonstrations.
King summarizes the position of the other side
(you deplore the demonstrations)
And then responds with his own ideas (your
statementfails to express)
5
Introduction, Continued
  • The single most important template for you to
    remember when constructing an argument is

They say________, but I say_______.
6
They Say, I Say, Continued
  • They say___, but I say___.
  • This template will help you
  • Enter into a conversation with other writers
  • Question authors assumptions
  • Develop strong claims
  • Offer supporting reasons and evidence for your
    arguments
  • Consider opposing arguments

7
They Say, I Say, Continued
  • As you consider how you will use your sources,
    think about how you respond to their arguments.
    Use these two templates for each source

____ argues_____, and I agree/disagree
because______. His/her argument that ______ is
supported by research/evidence showing that
________.
8
They Say, I Say, Continued
  • The next step is to synthesize what all your
    sources say with what you have to say. Try this
    template. Integrate all of your sources.

In discussions of X, one controversial issue has
been ___. On the one hand, ___ argues ___. On
the other hand, ___ contends ___. Others even
maintain ___. My own view is ___.
(Notice the connecting words? on the other
hand, others even maintain.)
9
They Say, I Say, Continued
  • Heres another template

When it comes to the topic of ___, most of us
will readily agree that ___. Where this
agreement usually ends, however, is on the
question of ___. For instance, ____ argues that
___, but ___ believes ___. Still others point
out that ____.
(Again, notice the transition words. What do the
words for instance indicate about how this
sentence relates to the previous one?)
10
Connecting the Parts
  • Connecting the parts, or using transitions, is
    one of the factors that will lead to a successful
    paper. Use connecting ideas or words
  • Between sentences
  • Between paragraphs
  • Between major sections of your paper

11
Connecting the Parts
  • Spot is a good dog. He has fleas.

What is the relationship between those two
sentences?
Spot is a good dog, but he has fleas. Spot is a
good dog, even though he has fleas. Spot is a
good dog although it is true that he has fleas.
What are the subtle differences in meaning in
these three sentences? In which sentence is Spot
seen in the most positive light? Most negative?
12
Connecting the Parts
  • Use transitions to join your current sentence
    with your last sentence and your next sentence.
  • Your reader should always be able to tell what
    the relationship is between the previous sentence
    and the current sentence.

13
Connecting the Parts Example
Without transitions
  • Notice how we ourselves have used connecting
    devices thus far in this chapter. The second
    paragraph of this chapter opens with the
    transitional And yet, signaling a change in
    direction. The opening sentence of the third
    includes the phrase in other words, telling you
    to expect a restatement of a point weve just
    made.

14
Connecting the Parts Example
  • With transitions

Notice how we ourselves have used such
connecting devices thus far in this chapter. The
second paragraph of this chapter, for example,
opens with the transitional And yet, signaling
a change in direction, while the opening sentence
of the third includes the phrase in other
words, telling you to expect a restatement of a
point weve just made.
15
Connecting the Parts Tips
  • Transitions
  • Pointing Words (this, their, such, etc.
    Just be sure to include a noun after the pointing
    term this philosophy, their point, such
    problems, etc.)
  • Try these strategies to link paragraphs and
    larger sections of your paper together.

16
Metacommentary
  • Metacommentary is one of the best connecting
    devices to use between ideas.
  • Metacommentary helps your reader understand what
    to do with the information youve provided.

17
Metacommentary
  • Examples of metacommentary from everyday
    conversation
  • What I meant to say was___.
  • My point was not___, but ___.
  • Youre probably not going to like what Im about
    to say, but___.

18
Metacommentary, Continued
  • Metacommentary is a way of commenting on your
    claims and telling other howand how notto think
    about them.
  • Metacommentary does not give a reader a new
    point metacommentary tells a reader how to
    interpret what has already been said (or is about
    to be said).

19
Metacommentary, Continued
  • Use metacommentary to clarify and elaborate your
    points
  • Metacommentary can add length and depth to your
    paper.
  • Metacommentary can help answer the questions, so
    what? who cares? for your audience.
  • Metacommentary can provide a way to start (or
    end) a paragraph or section of your paper.

20
Works Cited
  • Much of this presentation was adapted from
  • Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I
    Say The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing.
    2nd ed. New York Norton, 2009.

21
Remember, you can always visit us at the Writing
Center!
  • 104 MORRILL HALL
  • PHONE 405-744-6671
  • EMAIL WRITINGCENTER_at_OKSTATE.EDU
  • ONLINE APPOINTMENTS
  • WWW.RICH15.COM/OSU/SCHEDULE/
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