stupid is as stupid does

Ryu

Senior Member
Japan and Japanese
I heard this phrase in "Forest Gump." Its Japanese subtitle is something like "Stupid people are those who do stupid things."

Does this interpretation apply to all cases of "X is as X does"?

For instance, "beaty is as beaty does" is, as i understand, "Beatiful people are beautiful not because they look so but their heart is beatiful."

In conclusion, "X is as X does." means it is not appearance that makes X but the heart (or inside) that makes X."

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
  • JazzByChas

    Senior Member
    American English
    Ryu said:
    In conclusion, "X is as X does." means it is not appearance that makes X but the heart (or inside) that makes X."

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I would say that, yes...this is a good way of clarifying that expression.:)
     

    Ryu

    Senior Member
    Japan and Japanese
    Elroy, thanks. I looked for similar questions in this site but couldn't. Those threads fully answered my question.

    Another question important to non-native English speakers.

    As somebody says in another thread, this "X is as X does" expression is rather cliche. If so, would we sound rather strange (kind of "out of place" feeling or outdatedly sermonic, etc.) if we use one?

    Say, if I am talking with an American young man (very probably situation in Japan as there are more American young people in Tokyo than any other English-speaking nationals) and the topic is about the recent trend of Asian young men having cosmetic surgery to look handsome, then I say "Handsome is as handsome does." Would I sound rather strange?

    As part of my duty, I need to tell my students whether it is safe to use this expression or not as an English speaking Japanese.

    Thanking you for your help again!
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    >> this "X is as X does" expression is rather cliche

    It's ironic when a phrase is coined for a use... then only because that use blows up into cult success, that its instantly a cliche.

    I think in this case, its a clever turn of a phrase, and cliche or not, there is a certain elegance to it. If you only use it when its truly appropriate, then its elegance probably outweighs the cliche factor.

    And the phrase is perfectly safe, unless the stupidity that is being implied should offend someone. Anytime you call something or someone stupid, in any language, you should be prepared for the fall out. ;-)
     

    Ryu

    Senior Member
    Japan and Japanese
    Hi, Nycphotography, thanks.

    nycphotography said:
    And the phrase is perfectly safe, unless the stupidity that is being implied should offend someone. Anytime you call something or someone stupid, in any language, you should be prepared for the fall out.

    Yes, as people say, it is not what you say but how you say it that matters.

    Thank you.
     
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