Hi everyone. My name is Shane and this is part five of the beginner English phrases for conversation series. If you haven’t seen the first four parts, you can find the playlist up here or you can find the link in the description below. Alright, are you ready for today’s phrase? Let’s get started!
Today’s phrase is ‘What do you do?’ What do you do? When native speakers say this phrase very quickly, they like to say ‘Wodduhyuhdo?’ Wodduhyuhdo? Now this phrase is asking about your job. Do you work? Do you study? Or do you do something else?
This question is not asking about just one time. ‘What do you do’ is asking about what you do as a habit, as a routine. It’s asking about the past, the present and the future. Please don’t confuse ‘What do you do’ with ‘What are you doing’ with an ING. These two phrases are very different.
You can see on the screen right now that ‘What are you doing’ means ‘What are you doing right now?’ We are talking about one time – right now. But the phrase ‘What do you do’ is asking about your habit, your routine.
Some different ways to ask ‘What do you do’ are ‘What do you do for a living?’ What is your job? What is your occupation? Please note that the word ‘occupation’ is a formal word.
So if someone asks you ‘What do you do’, how can you answer this basic question? The main way to answer is by saying ‘I’m a’ plus your job. For example, I would say ‘I’m a teacher.’ Some other examples could be ‘I’m a doctor.’ I’m a student. If you are a student, you could also say ‘I study at university.’ Or you could say ‘I’m a university student.’
Now let’s talk about some common mistakes with this phrase. The most common mistake is when students confuse ‘What do you do’ with ‘What are you doing?’ Remember, ‘What do you do’ is asking about your job. ‘What are you doing’ is asking what you’re doing right now. It’s asking about one time. So if someone says to you, ‘What do you do’, please don’t answer by saying ‘I’m working’ or ‘I’m eating.’ This is incorrect. You can see the differences between these two questions on the screen right now.
The second most common mistake is when students answer the question ‘What do you do’ by saying things like ‘I am study at university.’ This is incorrect because after ‘am’, we don’t use verb 1. To correct this sentence, we could say ‘I study at university.’ Or we could say ‘I’m a student.’