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Friday, October 14, 2016

Newspapers: Useful phrases for commentary, analysis, and advocacy


(Homework assignment is at the bottom of this page.)

PART ONE: Useful words and phrases for presenting your summaries: (based on a list developed by Marina Evstifeeva)

1. Today I’m presenting a (an)
● newspaper article
● magazine article
● article from an academic journal
● video
● book
● (other material)
2. This item is taken from ... [periodical, series, or other source]

3. The headline [OR title] of the item is ...

4. The reporter / author is ...

5. The item is dated ... [OR the dateline of the article is ... ]

6. Phrases for summarizing the article or item:
● The central/main idea of the article is ...
● The article is devoted to ... The article deals with ...
● The purpose of the article is to provide the reader with information concerning ...
● As the article makes clear, ...
● The article comes with
○ photos of ...
○ charts showing ...
○ a sidebar on ...
○ links to ...
7. Phrases for providing additional content:
● The reporter / writer goes into details about ...
● The reporter / writer mentions in passing that ...
8. Concluding phrases:
● In conclusion I’d like to say that ...
● My overall impression is that ...
● The writer makes [OR doesn’t make] a convincing case that ...

PART TWO: Useful phrases for commentary, analysis, and advocacy


● Many people prefer _____, but a growing number believe that ______.

● The increasing number of [OR: amount of OR: danger of] ______ has become an urgent

● Some people believe that ______, while others argue strongly that ______.

● Ever since the ______ incident, journalists and politicians have argued for more ______.

Let’s look at what each side has to say.

Outlining one side of the argument:

● This writer / researcher / expert has extensive experience in the field of ______.

● Many people argue that _______.

● In his / her / my experience, _______. [See note below concerning third-person vs

● In other words, ________.

● On the one hand, __________.

● This approach has many advantages ....

● First, .... Second, .... Third, .... In addition, .... Finally, ....

● As evidence, he / she / they point(s) to ________.

● If we fail to take their advice, the number of ________ will start to go up, and the _______
will start to go down.

● As the writer says, is it fair that ______ will enjoy ______ while millions of others will

● Throughout history, people have _________________.

● Let’s look at the credentials of those opposing this viewpoint ...

Outlining the other side of the argument:

● On the other hand, _________.

● To be fair, _________.

● They argue that _________, but fail to notice that _________.

● To a certain extent, they are right. For example, __________.

● Theoretically, this may be true. But in real life, ....

● However, there are no reports of [OR: there is no evidence of] __________.

● At the same time, ______________.

● Is it worth the risk?


● To sum up, ________.

● We [OR They] can’t have it both ways; either _________ is true or _________ is true.

● In the final analysis, _________.

● Both sides have some good points, _______________.

● While the results are not conclusive, most of the evidence points to __________.

● It is obvious that ______________.

● Why must we choose? Both approaches have value.

● If our only concern is immediate results, we can choose _________, but if we take future
generations into account, we will clearly want to ________.

NOTE ON VOICE/PERSON: In general, presentations made in the first-person “I” or “we” voice
are less formal. Often personal experience is more persuasive than abstract discussions, but be
sure to take into account your intended audience. An academic audience may prefer or even
require a more objective-sounding third-person approach.

BE CONSISTENT. If you decide to write or speak in the first person singular, “I”, don't switch to
“we” or a passive voice halfway through the presentation. If you speak as “we” or as a neutral
observer, don't switch to “I” unless you make an explicit switch, for example at the end: “I would
like to conclude with a personal experience.”

HOMEWORK: Practice using the phrases for commentary, analysis, and advocacy.

For each of the four sections (introduction, outlining one side of the argument, outlining the other side, and conclusion), choose two phrases that have blanks in them and use those phrases in complete sentences. (Don't choose the phrases that are already complete in themselves, such as "Is it worth the risk?" -- unless you add a logical addition. For example: "Is it worth the risk? Many satisfied customers would give an enthusiastic 'yes'!"

If you wish, you can write your practice sentences using the articles we have read together so far this year, or you can find other articles, or you can simply make up your own logical content. We simply want to see that you know how to use the phrases.

More examples:

Some people believe that school uniforms are unnecessary, while others argue strongly that uniforms reduce the pressure on students to dress fashionably.

If we fail to take their advice, the number of unemployed people will start to go up, and the gross national product will start to go down.

Please bring your homework to our next class. (401: October 26.)

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