You see it is not so much the thing you do as the way you do it

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TerryWang

Senior Member
Taiwan
Here is the sentence I've read in an article:
".....You see it is not so much the thing you do as the way you do it...."
I just feel a little bit puzzled about it. What it tries to say is "the manner you do the thing is valued above the thing itself" or "The way you do the thing doesn't always get you the desired result (thing)", or something else?(There is only one answer, I guess) I am quite a little bit uncertain about it(because of my misunderstanding). Any answer would be appreciated.
 
  • izabella

    Member
    Languageless in EU
    It's the first one.

    In other words;

    The way you do something is more important than the thing itself.
     

    jetblack

    New Member
    English, UK
    My opinion would be that it is referring to your first suggestion:

    ".....You see it is not so much the thing you do as the way you do it...."

    It is more about the way you carry out the action of doing (the particular thing) rather than the actual thing itself.

    for example
    you can enter a room in a quiet, sedate manner or you can enter with great gusto ensuring that everyone knows you have arrived.
    In this sense; the way you do the action (entering the room) makes the difference - you are still entering the room, but doing it in a different manner, which is the important thing.

    Does this help?!

    jet
     

    Sr. Moose

    Banned
    Frostbite Falls, Alces and English
    Hi

    This usually refers to a measure of interaction with others. Anybody can go through the motions of running a store, but if you do it 'style,' you'll attract more customers. Anyone can be the boss in a factory, but if you have that certain 'touch,' that's to say, you exhibit a thoughtful 'manner' or 'style' in your dealings with other people, you'll retain a loyal workforce. Anybody can make a pizza, but if you can spin, toss and catch the dough in mid-air, you've definately won an audience.

    :)
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Another example would be this: If I smile and hand a glass of cool water to someone who just trudged up to our door, the message is one of welcome. If I take the same glass of water and shove it into their hands without looking at them and grab my hand back quickly, the message is one of dislike or distaste for the person or the task.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    The most common way this idea is stated is this way, I think:

    "It's not what you do, it's how you do it."

    The meaning is the same. The subject of this thread is simply a variation.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In the words of a well-known song from yesteryear…

    It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
    It ain't what you do it's the time that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
    It ain't what you do it's the place that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    In the words of a well-known song from yesteryear…

    It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
    It ain't what you do it's the time that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
    It ain't what you do it's the place that you do it (3)
    And that's what gets results
    I don't know the song, but I like the words. ;)
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    I remember the words but can not remember either the title or the name of the singer who made it famous. Spill the beans, please maxiogee.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    No, that's part of the problem. By the sounds that are vaguely running through my head I would guess the singer would probably have been black.

    Aha! I've just traced in on Yahoo - it was Little Richard in 1972 - the title is just slightly different:

    .It Ain't What You Do, It's the Way How You Do It
    Album: The Second Coming - REPRISE (1972) Artist: Little Richard

    Many thanks, anyway.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I remember the words but can not remember either the title or the name of the singer who made it famous. Spill the beans, please maxiogee.

    I believe it goes back to the 1940s when Sy Oliver recorded it as 'T Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It)
    I've no notion what colour the man's skin was, and anyway he would have sung what he was given - the lyricist would be the important one.
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Having written quite a long thread the system seems to have given me 'time out!' and it got lost. Basically I discovered that indeed Sy Oliver was black, that he was a jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader and for 10 years was musical director of Decca Records. As far as I could trace, the song was recorded by the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra sometime in the late 30s or early 40s, but could get no closer than that.

    Anyway, thanks for your info.
     
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