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In Indian English, sometimes we say things like this: 'Do one thing. Take a left turn there'. Basically, I am asking somebody to do something, which comes in following sentence. What's the better way of saying so?

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2 Answers

If that is what is found in Indian English, then there's no reason not to use it. In British English we might precede the sentence with something like 'Now' or 'Right' or 'Next thing'.

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When we say 'Do one thing', we want to gain the other person's attention akin to saying something like - "Listen up". Maybe "Listen up/OK. Now, do xxx" is more native sounding. –  Salil Sep 28 '11 at 8:09
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'Listen up' is found more often in American English than in British English. In Britain, we might say just 'Listen', or even, in some circumstances, 'Look'. –  Barrie England Sep 28 '11 at 8:29
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@tenfour I think if you read the statement "if it's in common use in India..." then there is no problem. That's the whole point of dialects. –  Matt Эллен Sep 28 '11 at 11:12
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It raises an interesting point. We speak readily of Indian English, Caribbean English and South African English and so on without differentiating between varieties that are spoken as native languages and those that are not. Still, they exist in both forms and I don’t think we can simply dismiss as ‘incorrect’ those that happen not to be spoken from infancy. –  Barrie England Sep 28 '11 at 11:49
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While giving instructions to a driver, "Just ahead" is what I'd say. Otherwise, maybe "What you want to do is." or "What you do is." –  Peter Shor Sep 28 '11 at 12:33
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"Do one thing" has a hint of being patronizing. Don't use it when addressing someone who is older/superior to you.
The better way is to precede it with the name or title of the person.
Eg: "Sir (very slight pause), take a left turn there".
or "John (very slight pause), take a left turn there".
or "Erm (very slight pause), take a left turn there". (here I meant'Erm' as similar to saying 'Err')

This way you've got their attention and your English right :-) But like Barrie said, if it's commonly used by people, then there's no reason not to use it.

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