In Russian we have a phrase, mostly used in memes, like “like a Leo Tolstoy you speak, but in fact you’re just a d**k” (meaning that you only talk beautifully but when it comes to actions you do nothing or don’t keep the promises. I need to translate a phrase “Like a Leo Tolstoy we speak, and in actions we’re Leo Tolstoy”, but used in English-speaking culture (or something stylistically close to it). Is there anything similar to it that sounds naturally?

  • 1
    Stick to your guns or strong-willed.
    – Void
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 20:10
  • a bullshit artist, we say.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


Several expressions come to mind:

He/she walks the talk.

This means a person acts in the same way that they promise to act, or that they encourage others to act.

  • He's a man of his word.
  • She's a woman of her word.

A gender-neutral form "They're a person of their word" is possible, but I've never encountered it and it may not be understood. It sounds strange to me, but maybe that needs to change!

This means a person lives up to their promises, i.e. they do what they promise to do.

I say what I mean and mean what I say.

This means I'm direct and honest.

He/she leads by example.

This means a person acts the way they want others to act, thereby encouraging them to act in the same way.

  • “I say what I mean and mean what I say” sounds like something we need. Thank you for your help! Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 21:53

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