This sentence pattern is a great way to clarify an idea or to restate an idea in different words so people can understand. It can also be used to summarize ideas.
If we tell someone our idea or opinion, but they do not understand, then we use this sentence pattern to say it again in a different way. We also use this pattern to summarize our complicated ideas into a simple sentence that is easier for other people to understand.
A) The marketing budget is bloated, the logistics department is a mess, our long-term strategy for growth doesn't fit with current trends, and our workforce is not skilled at coming up with new ideas.
B) So, what are you saying?
A) What I am saying is that our company faces many problems and that we need to make major changes soon. What I am saying is (that) + sentence
- What I am saying is that something needs to change at our company.
- What I am saying is that I quit.
- What I am saying is that I don't know what to do.
- What I am saying is that it is time for a change.
- What I am saying is that our government needs to invest more in education.
If we understand what a person means, but other people do not understand, then we can explain instead of that person. What + subject + is/are saying is (that) + sentence
- What Mark is saying is that we need to invest more in advertising.
- What she is saying is that our company needs to change our vacation policy.
- What the President is saying is that it takes time to fix these problems.
If we are clarifying a statement in the past, then we can use this sentence pattern. What + subject + was/were saying is (that) + sentence
Bonus Tips and Points
- What I was saying was that we need to cut back on expenses. I wasn't saying that we need to fire workers. You misunderstood me.
- What she was saying is people need to calm down. This situation is not the end ofthe world.
- What we were saying is that you need to think about it before you decide.
1. This sentence pattern can be used in a very similar way. What I mean is (that) + sentence
- What I mean is that I need some help.
- What I mean is that we need to take action now. We can't afford to wait.
- What I mean is that you need to practice your English listening more.
- What I mean is that she is a terrible person.
- What he means is that this project is impractical.
2. We can ask people to summarize or clarify what they said with these questions.
Real-World English Conversations
- What do you mean?
- What do you mean by that?
- What are you saying?
- What exactly are you saying?
- Could you explain that in a different way?
- Could you say that again?
A) The schools are run down. There are not enough textbooks and the facilities are unbelievably poor.
A) What I am saying is that the government needs to invest more money in our schools.
A) Our competitors are gaining an advantage over us because they are more willing to take risks.
B) What are you suggesting?
A) What I am saying is that we need to invest more in advertising and research.
A) Thailand is beautiful and my friend Jill said it is romantic.
A) What I am saying is that I want to go.
B) How about we go there for our next vacation?
A) I'd love that.
A) Our refrigerator is old and our kitchen floors are disgusting.
B) Okay. I guess I could clean them this weekend. I have some time.
A) Actually, what I am saying is that I want to remodel the kitchen. I want to buy a new refrigerator and get a new floor. Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!