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telling

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:39 am
by digitalen
Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?
I wonder if the meaning of "telling" is 1, 2, or anything.
1. you are telling
2. by telling

Re: telling

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:26 am
by Bobinwales
I would have thought, "Who do you think you are? Telling me what to do!" would be more in keeping with the sentiments.

Re: telling

Posted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:40 am
by Edwin F Ashworth
Coming up with unellipted original versions is often a far from exact science in my opinion (though there are those who claim near infallibility in this area).

But I'd suggest:

Who do you think you are, inasmuch as you are telling me what to do?

You can see why the elliptical sentence, or Bob's two sentence version, would soon catch on.

Re: telling

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:58 pm
by JerrySmile
digitalen wrote:Who do you think you are, telling me what to do?
I wonder if the meaning of "telling" is 1, 2, or anything.
1. you are telling
2. by telling
OK, in terms of meaning, I'd say it's 2, or
"by doing what you're doing (i.e. ordering me around)".

Re: telling

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:09 am
by Wizard of Oz
.. dig I see it as 2. as your original sentence can be rewritten >> Who do you think you are by telling me what to do? ..

WoZ telling it how he thinks it is

Re: telling

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:57 pm
by Phil White
I know this is an older thread, but the question has been lurking in the back of my mind for the past couple of months.
I think the shortest recast without any loss would be "who do you think you are to tell me what to do?"

Semantically, the "to" can then be expanded to something like "that you feel you can", thus giving
"Who do you think you are that you feel you can tell me what to do?"

However, this does not appear to work so well with analogous constructions:
"What do you think you are doing, playing football on the bowling green?" -->
*"What do you think you are doing that you feel you can play football on the bowling green?"