"What do you do in school?"

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
"What do you do in school?"

Which of the following answers are correct?
1. I write in school.
2. I do writing in school.

Thanks.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I prefer the second.
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
I thought it's more polite to answer in a whole sentence, isn't it?

Could anyone help?
 

GoesStation

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I thought it's more polite to answer in a whole sentence, isn't it?
Not really. It can sound patronizing when a native speaker responds that way, as if the person who asked the question a moment ago has already forgotten it.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
The question itself is rather unnatural. We might say to someone at the end of the school day "What did you do at school [today]?" The response would be something like "We did writing, we played with toys and we learnt about Australia".

"What do you do in school?" requires an answer that covers all the things the child ever does at school.
 

Charlie Bernstein

VIP Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I thought it's more polite to answer in a whole sentence. Isn't it?

No.

Could anyone help?

I think that's what we've been doing.

"I write" and "I study" are full sentences.

But, in fact, questions are not always answered with full sentences. There's nothing rude about it. For example, the phrases "No, thank you" and "Yes, please," aren't sentences, but they're entirely polite.

There's no reason why repeating the words "in school" would make the answer more polite. And what could be rude about answering "I study" or "I write"?

If a question is asked, it's polite to answer it.
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
In the primary school workbook, it teaches that we need to repeat the part of the question when answering questions.

E.g.
A: "What will you do after school on this Saturday?"
B: "I will go to swim after school on this Saturday."
 

GoesStation

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I guess they want to teach the children to form sentences. It's not natural usage though.

The example has several errors. Is it copied exactly from the workbook?
 

Ju

Key Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
I guess they want to teach the children to form sentences. It's not natural usage though.

The example has several errors. Is it copied exactly from the workbook?

Sorry, I made these sentences because I didn't have the book on hand. Please correct.

Thanks.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

GoesStation

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
In the primary school workbook, it teaches that we need to repeat the part of the question when answering questions.

E.g.
A: "What will you do after school on [STRIKE]this[/STRIKE] Saturday?"
B: "I will go [STRIKE]to[/STRIKE] swimming after school on [STRIKE]this[/STRIKE] Saturday."

I made these sentences because I didn't have the book on hand. Please correct.
The corrected question and answer above are grammatical but the answer is not natural, as discussed in previous posts.
 

Charlie Bernstein

VIP Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I would simply answer 'Go swimming'.

Right. It's understood that it will be after school on Saturday.

But Goes is right, repeating the rest would be good English practice, even if it isn't really natural.

The important thing to know is that a concise answer isn't a rude answer.
 
Last edited:

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
On hand is the natural choice in American English.

I had seen it being unquestioned, so I assumed it was a variant issue and offered the British version.
 
Top