Updates!FAQ
How to Use TP
TP Forums
eCampus
In ClasseBooks!Your Contributions!
ProjectsCredits
email ReadMe!

Occupations 1 - Elementary / Pre-intermediate - Useful Language
Bookmark and Share

Back Back to Table of Contents

Printer-friendly copy pdf (2 pages)

Occupations 1 - Oral Drilling and Explanation

listen! Listen external link GRABAR

What do you do? is a question about your occupation.
In other words, the main verb "do" (V) in a question in the present simple is about occupations.
= Do you work or do you study? = What's your occupation?, e.g. I am a language teacher
However, the main verb "do" (V) in a question in the present continuous is about an action we are doing at the moment, an action in progress
≠ What are you doing? = Just now! In progress…, e.g. I am preparing a podcast episode

Wh- Questions need a Content answer
Yes/No Questions – Short answers: when answers are short (or no, in Spanish), you have to reply Yes/No, + subject + first verb in the question. Otherwise, you sound rude.

Wh-/Content Questions
What do you do?
I'm a teacher.
What do you do?
I work.

Yes/No Questions
Are you a student?
Yes, I am.
Is she a student?
No, I she isn't.

Yes/No Questions
Do you work?
Yes, I do.
Can she speak Chinese?
No, she can't.

When you use a name/noun to mention your occupation, and it's in the singular, you have to use "a/an", e.g. I'm a teacher (soy profe; cf. We are teachers).

When you use a verb to mention your occupation, you just use the verb, e.g. I work in a school, unless you want to describe your role! In this case, you need "as a/an", e.g. I work as a teacher (trabajo de profe).

Oral Drilling

What do you do?

I'm a student.
I'm a student. I study at university.
I'm a university student.
I'm a secondary student.
I'm a Vocational Training student. (Formación profesional)
I'm an Advanced VT student (Carrera técnica)

I study English at an EOI, a state-run language school (una EOI, iniciales españolas en español + explicación en inglés)
I study English at a private language school (academia).
What do you do?
I work. / I'm a teacher
I work as a teacher
I am an office worker.
I work as an office worker.
I work for an international company.
I work and I study in the evenings.

What do you do?
I'm an electrician
What do you do?
I'm a computer engineer
What does your mother do?
She's a doctor
What does your father do?
He works in a bank
What does your friend do?
She's a shop assistant
What does your friend do?
He's a receptionist
What does your cousin do?
She's a lawyer
What does your cousin do?
He's a journalist
What do your friends do?
They are waiters
What do your friends do?
One is a musician and the other is a pilot

What do you do?
I'm unemployed
I'm out of work
I'm on the dole (UK, porque cobran el subsidio aunque no hayan tenido un contrato formal antes)
I'm a university graduate but I work in a fast food restaurant

When you describe your occupation, you can use the present simple, because you feel it is not a short-term temporary action, , e.g. I'm an engineer, I work as an engineer; or you can use the present continuous if you feel it is!

What do you do?
At the moment, I'm working as a teacher's assistant, but I hope I'll get a job as a teacher some day!
Now I'm working in a fast food restaurant, but I hope I'll find a better job soon!
Now I'm working for a company, but I'm a teacher. I'm also studying to become a teacher.

What do you do?
I'm unemployed. I was fired last month! (te echan)
Sorry to hear that!
What do you do?
I'm unemployed now. I was made redundant last year! (redujeron la plantilla y sobras)
I'm sorry to hear that! Take heart!
What do you do?
I'm unemployed! I'm looking for a job (at the moment)
Cheer up! You'll find one soon!
Good luck! / Best of luck! (with that)

Finally, you might need a past tense, if the person doesn't do that any more!

What do your parents do?
My mother is a police officer and my father is retired now. He was a builder.