AndréLuiz da Silva
What "do the words" mean?

Dear language learning partners,

 

What the sentence "do the words" mean? I watched the first episode of Friends last night and I could't understand what Ross mean when he saw: "Do the words: don't be a hero".

 

Thanks!

Jun 1, 2014 8:40 PM
Comments · 4

It means do what you say\promise, instead of just talking .

 

June 1, 2014

Is this from season 1? Because if so, the line is actually:
"Do the words, "Billy, don't be a hero", mean anything to you?"

July 1, 2014

I agree that the phrase "do the words" means to follow through on what one says they will do, however as a native speaker I would not use it in conversation.

 

Friends is a great show but the writing has always struck me as emphasizing a joke at the expense of being realistic portrayal of spoken English. Of course it did not stop it from being popular and it could be that since I did not live in Manhattan at the time of the show that I missed out on the cultural references.

 

Also art, by definition, has a loose relationship with fact. Some other examples of great but unrealistic dialogue in English is anything written by Quentin Tarantino or David Mamet.

July 1, 2014

I haven't seen the episode, but I would have to agree with Marcelle. In English, it's quite possible to just say the first half "Do the words...?" and your close friends (or television audience) will understand what you mean, based on previous conversations. This is a rhetorical device that engages the listeners by allowing them to complete the phrase in their head. This eliptical construction is possible in English (because we use inversion with a helping verb), but I have no idea how one would say it in other languages, such as Portuguese.

July 4, 2014