English Lesson: Small Talk – Family & Job

MichaelADUncategorized 2 Comments

When you meet someone, what topics do you talk about? Let’s look at some of these topics.

Family

Here are questions you can use to talk about family:

  • Tell me about your family. (I know, it is not a question)
  • Do you have any brothers and sisters?
  • Do you have a big family?

Be careful! This question  → How many families do you have? ← is correct English, but we don’t use that question. We only have one family. Maybe you want to know how many brothers or sisters someone has. In that case you can ask,

  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?

These are the usual questions people ask in English to talk about families. So then, how do you reply? Let’s look at some replies and vocabulary.

  • I’m an only child. This means I have no brothers or sisters.
  • I have an older sister/brother.
  • I have a younger sister/brother.
  • I have two sisters/brothers.
  • I’m the youngest/oldest child
  • I have a big/small family.

Job

Here are questions you can use to talk about jobs.

  • What do you do?
  • Where do you work?

Be careful! This question  → What is your job? ← is correct English, but we don’t use that question. Let’s look at some replies and vocabulary.

  • I am a teacher [I am + Job Title]
  • I work in a bank [I work in + type of company]
  • I work for Sony [I work for + company name]

Be careful! These sentences  → I work in an office and I am an office worker ← are correct English, but EVERYBODY works in an office of some kind. So, these answers are not used by English speakers. When we talk about jobs, we want to know exactly what you do, not a general answer.  OK, one last point. These words  → salaryman & office lady ← are not English words, so you need to learn how to say your job title in English!

Next time, we will look at some other conversation topics. Have a great day!

Comments

comments

Comments 2

  1. Hello.
    How can I answer those questions?
    1.Do you have any brothers and sisters?
    When I say “I have tow brothers”, dose it mean “there are 3 children in my family,2 brothers and I “?
    How should I explain the order? Is it OK to say “the 1st son,the 2nd son and the first daughter” ? Do I have to say older and younger?
    How about “I’m in the middle of 3 brothers and sisters”? For example, “1st son,1st daughter,I, 2nd son,3rd son”.

    2.Do you have a big/small family?
    Of course, that depends on the case,but how many numbers do you think a big/small family? In my opinion, a big family has at least 7 people, parents and 5 children. I think only parents or parent and a child are small family.
    Is a nuclear family different from a small family?
    Is an extended family different from a big family? Are they a different concept?

    1. Hi Misa,
      #1. Yes, you can say I have two brothers. We will know then there are 3 children in the family. If you want to mention the oder, you can say (for example) I have 2 older brothers, or I am the middle child, or I have 2 younger brothers.
      #2. A “big” family is up to you image. I think if there are 3 or more children it is a big family, but that is my opinion. A nuclear family (you, your siblings, and your parents) is more of a scientific or formal word used in the news media and TV. An extended family is different from a big family because it means that (for example) grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles are living together with you.

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