Expression: To do what you say

Hello everybody

Could anyone please tell me if to do what you say is an expression? If it is, what does it mean and how do we use it? :smiley: Please see below:

1- My teacher never tells interesting stories to do what you say.



Hi Tom

“You always do what you say” means “You always do the things that you say you are going to do”

“I always do what you say” means “I always do the things you tell me to do.”


Dear Amy

I am grateful!

So it is wrong in the given sentence because it does not make any sense here?

1- 1- My teacher never tells interesting stories to do what you say.


No, Tom

I couldn’t make heads nor tails of that sentence. I didn’t make any sense to me.


Unless it means: You told my teacher never to tell interesting stories, so she/he never does :slight_smile: !

Still a bit queer, though :? !

Hi Conchita

I think it’s more than a bit queer. :lol: But I’d be interested in knowing if that’s what Tom wanted to say. If so, I’d possibly replace “what” with “as” and then move the phrase to the beginning of the sentence and/or I might say “in order to” instead of simply “to” (for clarification):

(In order) to do what/as you say, my teacher never tells interesting stories.

But, that sentence is also a bit odd, isn’t it. :lol:



We seem to have created a replica of those Victorian teachers (or rather schoolmasters/mistresses) who were never short of twisted ideas for punishments: having fun at school must have been totally out of the question, so interesting stories couldn’t have been an integrated part of education (I’m only exaggerating, I hope – perhaps I should go back to reading dear Charles Dickens) :slight_smile: !

Hi Conchita

Exactly! Hmmmm, for some reason a question has just popped into my head. :wink:
What’s the difference between:
sentenced to torture
– and –
tortured by sentence
:lol: :wink: :lol:

I remember one of my English teachers from high school very well. She was approaching retirement age at the time (or at least that’s how I remember her :lol:), she was very strict and dour, and I think her favorite pasttime was diagramming sentences. So, of course, we did lots of that in class. And, you know, I don’t remember actually ever reading anything in that class … although I’m sure we must have. Anyway, I do remember standing at the blackboard one day, dutifully trying to diagram a sentence, and asking myself what we’d all done to deserve being sentenced to such sentence torture. :smiley:



You should include that phase of your life in your CV, Amy! Some of those school experiences are a far better proof of our abilities than the most prestigious degrees or qualifications! Don’t you agree, Tom :wink: ?

Maybe we even ought to be grateful to such teachers, who knows?

Hi Conchita

I guess I remember those sentence diagrams because no other teacher had us do them. And maybe also because when I was finished making them, some sentences strongly resembled my family tree. :smiley:

It’s interesting that you mention degrees and diplomas. I’ve got some of those :lol:, but I’ve always felt that the most valuable things I’ve learned, I’ve learned in practice. No amount of theoretical learning can prepare you completely for reality. Not by a long shot. The theory is only the first step. Most of the work comes after that.

I’ve got an attractive piece of paper lying around somewhere that claims I’m qualified to teach. You’ll notice I said “claims” and not “certifies”. That’s because I consider that piece of paper to be a fraud - even though I received it, very officially, along with a university degree. And the reason it’s a fraud is because I was not a competent teacher when I received that piece of paper.

Before I got that nice piece of paper claiming I was qualified to teach, I had to do the required semester of “student teaching” (in addition to all the other coursework, of course). I still remember those student teaching days. It was hard being “The Teacher” :shock: at first. And it wasn’t until I began my student teaching that I really started to comprehend just how much there was that I didn’t know. I guess you could say that was one of my bigger “Eureka moments”.

It was the same story when I was working in business. I’ve learned my share of business theory, done courses and attended seminars related to various aspects of business, and much (but not all) of it was quite good and interesting. But it was during the day-to-day practice where the best and most valuable learning took place. Part of the job in my various levels of managment always involved training. The coursework I’d done for my teaching degree came in handy for that as background information, but the real know-how came only with experience.

I attended a seminar one time and today I remember the seminar only because of one particular point that was made. I remember no other specifics of the seminar itself other than it had something to do with management. During the seminar the idea of competence was presented as having four stages:

  1. Unconsciously incompetent
  2. Consciously incompetent
  3. Consciously competent
  4. Unconsciously competent

Looking back, I see my student teaching days as Stage 2 at best. It was then that I realized that there was an extremely sizable amount of knowledge missing - despite the years of university study I’d already had. I see Stage 3 as the part where the best learning takes place. That’s the practical learning. And that’s where the competence begins and it takes time for it to grow.

And at this point, I think I can safely say that I’ve achieved Stage 4 when it comes to teaching Business English. Unfortunately, I don’t have any “official” pieces of paper claiming that I’m finally a competent teacher. That would amount to admitting that the first piece of paper was wrong, wouldn’t it? :lol: