Talking about Occupations, Skills and Abilities

In this section we look at talking about things we can do, using very simple English. We begin by discussing skills and abilities, and then look at jobs and occupations.

Present Tense

When we talk about skills and abilities, somebody may ask can you ……
Can you cook? Drive a car? Use a computer? Can you use? an ipad; a cell phone; a digital camera Can you speak? French; Chinese, Spanish Can you play? hockey; tennis; chess; the guitar; an instrument; the trumpet; Can you make? sandwiches; miso soup; tempura; an omelet; a snowman; a sand castle Can you do? athletics; judo; skiing; rowing; yoga; origamiomelet rowingdigital camera sand castlefirst aid 1first-aid-kit-picture                                                             snowman22

Past Tense

Sometimes you may be asked,
Have you ever? played ……tennis; the guitar; chess made …… tempura; a sandwich; an omelette; a snowman done ……judo; skiing; athletics; origami; first aid





































There are so many different occupations we can do. Here are some common occupations: cashier; office clerk; nurse; waitress; accountant; computer programmer; doctor; lawyer; architect; gardener; plumber; footballer; golfer; policeman; dentist; psychologist; social worker; cleaner; pharmacist; photographer See if you can recognise any of these occupations in the pictures below: occupations 1 occupations 2




occupations 3occupations 4


























Occupations are activities that people spend a lot of time doing.
We may also call these activities jobs, careers or professions.
Most often people do this to earn money.
But, there are a few exceptions.
For example, a student and a housewife also have occupations,
even though they don’t directly get paid to do these activities.


occupation; career; profession; business; company; industry; organisation; materials; equipment; tools; instruments; factory; office
We say that people work
at different jobs or occupations
at a hotel
for different companies, businesses, or organisations
in different industries
in a factory or office
with different materials or equipment

When we talk about occupations, we can use questions such as ……
What does an actor do?
What is an actor involved with?
Where does a gardener work?
What does a pharmacist work with?
What does a musician work with?

We can reply with statements such as ……
An actor acts in movies
An actor acts on a stage
An actor works in television
an actor works in the advertising industry
an actor is involved  with words, and actions and costumes

A gardener works in a garden
A gardener works with tools and with plants
A musician works with instruments
A musician works in the music industry

Please look again at the different types of occupations listed above!




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