How to talk about your job in English: 10 Key Verbs

I will teach you ten common English verbs to talk about jobs and the workplace. You will learn the meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and grammar of the following words: hire, earn, pay, fire, quit, lay off, resign, retire, promote, and demote. You will also see examples of how these words are used. One of the most common topics of conversation is work. Whether you love or hate your job, you probably talk about it frequently, so you need to learn how to use these words. After watching the video, take my quiz to practice the new words you have learned, at

NEXT, watch the rest of the videos in my JOB SKILL series:


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video, we are going to teach you 10 verbs that you can use when you’re talking about work and jobs—okay?—and careers. So these are 10 very important verbs that you will hear a lot in movies, and on TV shows, and maybe even your professional life. Okay? So, let’s get started.
So, for each of these verbs, I’m going to tell you what they mean; I’m going to tell you the grammar of the verb, because that’s also very important; and I am going to talk about pronunciation, so: “How do we say it?”; and spelling. Each of these parts, so meaning, grammar, pronunciation, and smell… Spelling; not smelling. Spelling can really help you remember these verbs better. Okay?
So, my first verb: “to be hired”. What does it mean: “to be hired”? Well, this is a very good meaning; this is something very exciting. When you are hired, it means you get a job. Okay? So, it’s: You’ve given your resume to a company, you’ve done the interview, and guess what? You are hired. Okay? That means: “You’ve gotten the job! Well done.” So, I’ve drawn a smiley face here, because this is very exciting.
So, let’s look at an example of the verb “hired”. A long time ago, when I was a lot younger: “I was hired by Blockbuster.” Okay? So, a company, I don’t know if it still exists, but: “I was hired by Blockbuster.” Okay? So you’ll notice something about this verb. We have here the subject, which is “I” – “Emma”, and we have the verb “hired”, but you might also notice this word “was”. “I was hired”. This means that this verb is in what’s called the passive tense. Okay? So, when we’re talking about maybe our friends or our family, or people we know who got a job, we will say: “My friend was hired by”, and the company. Or, you know: “I was hired by this company.” Okay?
Now, this is a bit different. So this is in the passive and it’s very important to remember the word “was”. We have here our… Our same verb: “hired”, but in this case it’s in the active tense. And if you don’t know what I mean by passive or active, that’s okay, because we have a video on that which will help explain that; but the point here is that: Usually when you use “hired”, you usually have a “was” in front of it or a “were”, depending on if you’re saying: “he”, “she”, “we”, “they”. We usually have it like this.
If you’re talking about a company or the boss of a company—a manager—and we’re talking about their role and that they want to employ someone, in this case we would use the active, which is this sentence: “The manager hired John.” Okay? And so you’ll notice here… I could also say: “Blockbuster hired me.” You know, if I was a famous actress, I could say: “Universal Studios hired me for their next movie.” Not true, but just an example. So, the key here is there’s no “was” or “were” in the active form. But for you, you will probably be mainly using the first form – the passive form. Okay? And if you have questions about this, you can watch our videos on passive and active tenses.
So: “I was hired by Blockbuster.” How do I pronounce this word? Well, the first thing is: It is two syllables. So, we say: “hi-er”. Okay? So I want you to repeat after me: “hi-er”. Okay. And so it’s kind of like the word: “hi”, “er”. And in terms of the spelling… One of the great things with verbs that have to do with jobs is a lot of them are spelt very similarly; they have very close spellings. So, for example, we have here: “hire”. There’s another job verb that we’ll be talking about soon that does not mean the same thing, but it also has “ire”. Can you guess what that word is? “Fire”. Okay? “Fire” rhymes with “hire”; they both have similar spelling… Spellings. And we also have another word: “retire”. Okay? So, “i-r-e” you’ll see are very common with job verbs.
All right, so let’s look at another verb: “to earn”. Okay? This is a great verb: “to earn”. It means to make money. Okay? So you’ve gotten the job, you have been hired, so what happens now? The best part: You start to make money. You earn money. Okay? So, I’ve drawn a happy face here because this is also a very good thing about jobs. […]


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