This is a sentence of a native English teacher, who tells about his experience on how to manage the classroom especially when students are noisy. He says what he did in the beginning of his career:

When they didn't do as I asked, I shouted at them.

Normally, in a classroom, the teacher asks students to do something, and somethimes they don't do what the teacher asked. So, the teacher wants to describe this situation.

But, I wonder why he said "...as I asked" instead of "....what I asked".

"As" means "while" or "when", but none of them sits well here, because "They did not do while I asked" means something like "They did not do while the teacher was talking", which don't make sense, because something sounds like missing, What is it that they didn't do while the teacher was talking

So, I want to ask whether the teacher should have used "what" instead of "as" in that sentence?

  • 1
    It's slightly more formal to use as rather than what in such contexts. Also note that syntactically they're different, in that what I say is a noun, but as I say is adverbial. They both work when used immediately after the verb, as in You must do as / what he says! But you can't use as in What he says, you must do! Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 16:56
  • to do as someone asks is an idiom.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


As can also mean in the way that.

Do as I ask/say/tell you is perfectly standard English, as is Do as you're told.

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