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They Say, I Say: Ch 6

Planting a Naysayer in Your Text

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They Say, I Say: Ch 6

  1. 1. Planting a Naysayer in Your Text Or (Enhancing Your Writing With Counterargument)
  2. 2.  While writing, we might often fear what others would say or how they respond to our argument.  This is called the counterargument.  Use this fear to your advantage!  If you find yourself doubting, worrying, or fearing that your reader might have a different opinion, this is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge it!  It is better to acknowledge than ignore a potential disagreement…
  3. 3.  We know there are multiple sides to any argument (called counterarguments); therefore, there are many points of view to consider whenever you are trying to build a case.  When establishing the conversation, it’s important to not only include those who agree with you but also those who disagree with you.  One way to include those who disagree with you is by planting a naysayer.
  4. 4. NAYSAYER=COUNTERARGUMENT COUNTERARGUMENT=NAYSAYER They are terms to be used interchangeably!
  5. 5. 1. What does it mean to “plant a naysayer” in your text?
  6. 6.  To plant a naysayer in your text is to incorporate viewpoints in your essay that might be against you.
  7. 7.  Think of planting a naysayer as being two steps ahead—like when playing chess.  When you play chess, you have to constantly be anticipating the next move…if not several moves…of your opponent.  Anticipating what others will say to your argument is the same concept.  Therefore, you want to plant what they will say before they get a chance to!
  8. 8.  Pretend you are in high school again and at that age where you are earning your independence.  You want to convince your mom/dad/guardian to let you go to a party on Friday night, but you know they will have several objections.  What are they? Let’s guess:  “It isn’t safe to drive that late at night”  “You have a big test Monday”  “You work early on Saturday morning”
  9. 9.  You have already anticipated what mom/dad/guardian will say.  What better way to “win” your argument than to prepare your answers before they can even speak? So you say:  “I want to go to a party on Friday night. We’re going to get an Uber to drive us and bring us home (solves objection #1). I have already studied for my test on Monday and can use Sunday to review my notes (solves objection #2). And since I have work on Saturday morning, I will be home by midnight so that I can get enough sleep. Is it okay that I go?”
  10. 10.  Mom/dad/guardian is left speechless!  You anticipated everything they were going to say as a counterargument to your proposal.  You disarmed them by already beating them to it.  You comforted them that you had already though through all the possibilities.  As a result, you are given the okay to attend the party!
  11. 11. 2. What is the purpose of planting naysayers?
  12. 12.  Because you are part of a dialogue or debate, planting a naysayer will actually enhance your credibility.  The more you give voice to your critics’ objections, the more you tend to disarm those critics, especially if you go on to answer them in convincing ways.  Planting naysayers also helps you to come across as a generous, open-minded person who is confident enough to be open to debate.
  13. 13.  Before you after you develop your claim in MEAL form, you want to incorporate into your paragraph a template such as these:  Yet some readers may challenge my view by insisting that _____________.  Of course, many will probably disagree on the grounds that _____________.  At this point, I would like to raise some objections that have been inspired by the skeptic in me…
  14. 14.  Naysayers are flexible—they can go anywhere and everywhere in an essay.  A naysayer can go at the beginning, middle, or end of a paragraph. Or they can be an entire paragraph (this is addressed later in the presentation).  Ideally, they will go wherever you yourself start to doubt or question your claim/main point. And if you don’t doubt your claim, then you have to “pretend” to be your opponent and raise that counterargument.  However, it must ALWAYS be reinforced by your rebuttal! Or else there are SERIOUS consequences.
  15. 15. 3. What are some negative effects that might happen if you don’t plant any naysayers?
  16. 16.  If you don’t place any naysayers in your text, you might come across as close- minded or that there is nothing in your argument worth disputing.  You might also leave unanswered questions or arguments unaddressed.  You might find you have little say— entertaining naysayers sometimes gives writers something to write about and generate more text.
  17. 17. 4. According to the editors, how can you represent objections fairly?
  18. 18.  Although you might often want to rush past your naysayers, it’s important you represent them fairly and adequately.  To do this, you should stay with your naysayers for several sentences, or perhaps even an entire paragraph.  Your goal is to bolster your credibility, so take advantage of the naysayer by fully developing what they might contend.
  19. 19. 5. What is the best way you should answer to your objections?
  20. 20.  First, you want to make sure that the objection you raise isn’t more convincing than your own argument.  Also, you should never dismiss an objection.  But the best way to answer your objections is to agree/disagree simultaneously.  Provide a “yes, but” or “yes and no.” This way, you make concessions while still standing your ground.
  21. 21.  After you have developed the naysayer and given them some credit, you have to follow up with your own claim:  While it is true that _________, it does not necessarily follow that ___________.  Proponents of X are right to argue that _______. But they exaggerate when they claim that ___________.  On the one hand, I agree with X that _________. But on the other hand, I still insist that ___________.
  22. 22.  For more on how to integrate the naysayer into your paragraphs using templates, see the Counterargument Powerpoint that follows this one.

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