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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to EnglishClass101.com’s “English in Three Minutes”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn English.
Hey everyone, I’m Alisha!
In this series, we’re going to learn some easy ways to ask and answer common questions in English. It’s really useful, and it only takes three minutes!
In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to ask what someone’s job is in natural English.
Of course, you *can* just say, “What is your job?” This is correct English, but it sounds too direct and awkward. Native English speakers almost never say this in a social situation.
Instead, they use a different question.
But before we master that, we need to compare it to a very similar question.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m presenting a video about English!”
“What do you do?”
“I’m an English teacher!”
Do you see the difference?
These two questions - “What are you doing?” and “What do you do?” sound similar, but mean different things.
The first one is asking what you are doing right now, this minute. You answer it using an -ing verb.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m reading!”
“I’m watching TV!”
… While the second is actually a shortened version of “What do you do for a living?”.
This is how we ask “What is your job?” in natural English.
Let’s practice this question.
“What do you do?”
(slowly) “What do you do?”
When native speakers of English ask this question, it can come out very fast, and sound more like “Whadd’yado?”
In order to tell it apart from “what are you doing?”, just listen for the “ing” sound on the end of the question - if it’s not there, then you’re being asked what your job is!
So how would you answer this question?
Just think of it as if the other person is asking you “What is your job?”
You could answer with “I am”, plus your job.
“I’m a teacher.”
(slow) I’m a teacher
I’m an engineer
(slow) “I’m an engineer.”
If you want to learn more job names, go to EnglishClass101.com and check out the Core Word Lists. These cover job vocabulary and more, and include a picture and audio to help you perfect your pronunciation.
You can also mention the place that you work at, starting with “I work at”.
I work at a hospital.
(slow) I work at a hospital.
I work at a law firm.
(slow) I work at a law firm.
If you work for a big company that is well-known, you can say “I work for”, and then the name:
“I work for Microsoft.”
(slow) I work for Microsoft.
I work for The New York Times.
(slow) I work for The New York Times.
Now it’s time for Alisha’s Advice!
When you ask the question “What do you do?” and the other person tells you their job, it’s polite to make some kind of positive comment about his or her job - for example, “How interesting!” or “That must be exciting” or even “Oh, really!”. Remember to sound sincere!
Do you know how native English speakers ask each other what their hobbies are? Hint: we don’t use the word “hobbies”!
Find out next time in the third English in 3 Minutes Lesson! See you next time!