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What is the meaning and grammar of “them as can’t” in the following text:

"Them as can, do; them as can't, teach." Alas, more teachers fall into this category than ever before

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It is a common proverb:

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Prov. People who are able to do something well can do that thing for a living, while people who are not able to do anything that well make a living by teaching. (Used to disparage teachers. From George Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman.)

  • Bob: I'm so discouraged. My writing teacher told me my novel is hopeless. Jane: Don't listen to her, Bob. Remember: those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

(McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs)

For the use of them see Using “them” instead of “those”.

  • I think the usage of as here is probably more opaque than the usage of them (and I have the impression they're linked—i.e. "them as" is a more likely collocation than either "those as" or "them who"—but I don't know if that's correct). Maybe you could go into more detail on that bit? – 1006a Nov 20 '18 at 19:17
  • Thanks. Can you also clarify the use of "as" instead of "who"? – ib11 Nov 20 '18 at 20:08
  • @ib11 - it appears to be a common collocation as in: Them as has, gits. Rur. Rich people can always get more. idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Them+as+has%2C+gits – user240918 Nov 20 '18 at 20:28
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It is northern England dialect, most likely Yorkshire.

Them as has/he as can/we as know = Those that have/he that can/We that know.

As @user240918 points out, it is an idiomatic saying, a kind of folk wisdom, especially in northern England.

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