Spanish/Lessons/¿Cuál es tu trabajo?

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restuarantLesson 9 — ¿Cuál es tu trabajo?
Aconcagua mountain in the Argentinian Andes.

Dialogue[edit | edit source]

clientes customers
Raúl: Hola, Sofía. ¿A qué te dedicas?
Sofía: Trabajo en una tienda.
Raúl: Vale.
Sofía: Y tú, ¿A qué te dedicas?
Raúl: Ah, soy profesor de inglés.
Sofía: ¡Qué bueno! ¿Hablas inglés nativamente?
Raúl: No, me encanta aprender idiomas.
Sofía: Sí, quiero aprender inglés para mi trabajo, también. Siempre hay clientes que quieren hablar en inglés. Es muy difícil.
Rául: Sí, entiendo. ¡Adiós!

Translation (wait until the end of the lesson).

Jobs and occupations[edit | edit source]

In Spanish, to say someone's job, you use ser ("to be"), followed by the name of the job (some of which are given below). You use no articles - "I am dentist" (Soy dentista), rather than "I am a dentist" like in English. To ask what someone else does for a living, you use the phrase ¿Cuál es tu trabajo? (the name of this lesson).

So, some jobs:

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cuál es tu trabajo?
Trabajos Flag of Spain.svg Jobs

Inglés Español
Electrician Electricista
Plumber Fontanero (m) or Fontanera (f)
Plomero (m) or Plomera (f)
Builder Albañil
Teacher Profesor (m) or Profesora (f)
Lawyer Abogado (m) or Abogada (f)
Doctor Médico (m) or Médica (f)
Dentist Dentista
Engineer Ingeniero (m) or Ingeniera (f)
Cook Cocinero (m) or Cocinera (f)
  • For some of the above jobs, there are two options: one for males and one for females. For electricista, dentista, and albañil, there is no difference between the genders. Even men can be dentistas. The same applies to any noun ending with -ista, except modisto/modista (fashion designer).
  • Fontanero is used mostly in Spain and a few other countries, with most other regions using plomero.
  • Es dentista.
    He's a dentist.
  • ¿Vas a ser médico?
    Are you going to be a doctor?
  • Quiero ser abogada, pero cuesta mucho.
    I want to be a lawyer, but it costs a lot.
  • Son profesores de español, así que hablan español muy bien.
    They're Spanish teachers so they speak Spanish really well.
  • ¿Cuál es tu trabajo? ¿Eres electricista?
    What do you work as? Are you an electrician?

Go to the exercises.

A Few Important Words[edit | edit source]

At this point, we really need to go through a few important words that have been overlooked in previous lessons, haven't really got a home, or have generally not got much air-time. These are really important, and immediately raise your level of Spanish if you use them.

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cuál es tu trabajo?
Palabritas Flag of Spain.svg Little words

Inglés Español
Too Demasiado
Today Hoy
Now Ahora
In order to Para
A lot Mucho
That Que
How...! ¡Qué...!
Currently Actualmente
Always Siempre
  • Demasiado means "too" as in "I am too nice" (Soy demasiado amable). It also means "too much" or "too many", as in "It costs too much" (Cuesta demasiado) or "It has too many rooms" (Tiene demasiadas habitaciones). When it's used as a sort of adjective, it has to agree with the noun.
  • Para, in the sense "in order to" is always followed by the infinitive. Voy a ir a Francia para relajarme means "I'm going to France in order to relax".
  • Mucho means "a lot" ("It has a lot of rooms" - tiene muchas habitaciones), but also "many" ("I live in many different houses" - vivo en muchas casas diferentes). Like demasiado, it has to agree with the noun it describes.
  • Qué means "how" only in the sense of "How fantastic!", ¡Qué fantástico!. Cómo is the question word meaning "how".
  • Don't confuse actualmente with "actually". It means currently.
  • ¿Por qué vas a Canadá? ¿Para aprender el idioma?
    Why are you going to Canada? In order to learn the language?
  • Vivo en una casa adosada en Nueva Zelanda que tiene muchas habitaciones.
    I live in a terrace in New Zealand that has many rooms.
  • ¿Qué vas a comer ahora?
    What are you going to eat now?
  • Normalmente, quiere almorzar a la una menos cuarto, pero hoy, quiere comer a las dos.
    Normally, he wants to have lunch at quarter to one, but today, he wants to eat at two.
  • ¿Van a jugar al tenis? ¡Qué fatal!
    They're going to play tennis? How awful!
  • Siempre ceno a las siete de la tarde.
    I always dine at 7pm.

Go to the exercises.

Workplaces[edit | edit source]

As well as what your job is, it would be undoubtedly useful to be able to say where you work. A shop? An office? A factory?

To do this, you use the regular verb trabajar (trabajo, trabajas, trabaja, trabajamos, trabajáis, trabajan), then our friend en (meaning "in"), then one of the options from this table, or any other building or firm.

Another important little phrase to mention here is ganar dinero, meaning "to earn money". It's regular, so is conjugated gano dinero, ganas dinero, gana dinero, ganamos dinero, ganáis dinero, ganan dinero.

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cuál es tu trabajo?
Workplaces Flag of Spain.svg Lugares de trabajo

Inglés Español
An office Una oficina
A factory Una fábrica
A shop Una tienda
A school Una escuela
A restaurant Un restaurante
A studio Un taller
A garage Un taller mecánico
  • As part of this phrase, you can also use a company name (Trabajo en Tesco meaning "I work at Tesco"), or even a country or place name (¿Trabajas en Alemania? meaning "Do you work in Germany?").
  • Trabajamos en un taller mecánico en España.
    We work in a garage in Spain.
  • Trabajo en una tienda que se llama Woolworths.
    I work in a shop called Woolworths.
  • ¿Dónde trabajas? ¿En un colegio? ¿Eres profesor?
    Where do you work? In a school? Are you a teacher?
  • Actualmente trabajo en una fábrica para ganar dinero para poder ir a Alemania. Alemania es fantástica.
    I'm currently working in a factory, in order to earn money, so that I can go to Germany. Germany is fantastic.
  • Trabajan en una oficina, pero prefieren trabajar en restaurantes.
    They work in an office, but they prefer working in restaurants.

Go to the exercises.

The Future Tense[edit | edit source]

For the past two lessons, we have been using the phrase ir a to refer to the future. Now, there is a real future tense in Spanish, which is formed by changing the verb itself, and is translated as "will". It is formed thus:

[future stem][ending]

Let's explain this:

  • The future stem is a form of the verb. Luckily for us, in most cases, it's the same as the infinitive. So, for hablar (meaning "to talk"), the future stem is simply hablar.
  • The endings are shown in the table below. You add them to the future stem as suffixes.

Spanish Vocabulary • ¿Cuál es tu trabajo?
Suffixes Flag of Spain.svg Sufijos

Inglés Español
I é
You ás
He/She/It á
We emos
You all éis
They án
  • Some verbs have irregular future stems. Assume a verb is regular unless you know otherwise. Of the verbs you have learned so far, this only applies to three:
    Tener ("to have"): tendré, tendrás, tendrá, tendremos, tendréis, tendrán
    Poder ("to be able to"): podré, podrás, podrá, podremos, podréis, podrán
    Querer ("to want"): querré, querrás, querrá, querremos, querréis, querrán
  • Here are more examples of irregular verbs:
    Haber ("to have"): habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán
    Salir ("to leave"): saldré, saldrás, saldrá, saldremos, saldréis, saldrán
  • Comeré una manzana.
    I will eat an apple.
  • Pasado mañana, ¿irás a las tiendas?
    The day after tomorrow, will you go to the shops?
  • Será fontanera.
    She will be a plumber.
  • El mes que viene, tendré ochenta años.
    Next month, I will be 80.
  • La semana próxima, podréis hablar el español bien.
    Next week, you will be able to speak Spanish well.
  • El año próximo, vivirán en una casa nueva.
    Next year, they will live in a new house.
  • Brevemente, habré un móvil nuevo.
    I will have a new cell phone soon.
  • Saldremos del restaurante a las nueve de la noche.
    We will leave the restaurant at 9 p.m.

Go to the exercises.

Summary[edit | edit source]

In this lesson, you have learnt

  • How to say what you and others do for a living (soy ingeniero; son abogados)
  • How to ask what someone does for a living (¿Cuál es tu trabajo?)
  • How to say various little, but important words (qué; demasiado; mucho)
  • How to say various workplaces (una fábrica; un taller)
  • How to form the future tense (podrán; querré; almorzaremos)

You should now do the exercise related to each section (found here), and translate the dialogue at the top before moving on.

You have now completed this chapter! Return to the Contents...


Learn the Spanish language
Lesson oneLesson twoLesson three
Lesson fourLesson fiveLesson six
Lesson sevenLesson eightLesson nine