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.
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.
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.
So, it’s: You’ve given your resume to a company, you’ve done the interview, and
You are hired.
That means: “You’ve gotten the job!
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.”
So, a company, I don’t know if it still exists, but: “I was hired by Blockbuster.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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
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.
And if you have questions about this, you can watch our videos on passive and active
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”.
So I want you to repeat after me: “hi-er”.
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” rhymes with “hire”; they both have similar spelling…
And we also have another word: “retire”.
So, “i-r-e” you’ll see are very common with job verbs.
All right, so let’s look at another verb: “to earn”.
This is a great verb: “to earn”.
It means to make money.
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.
So, I’ve drawn a happy face here because this is also a very good thing about jobs.
So, here are some examples of using this verb in a sentence.
I have my friend Jack, here…
Or Jake, sorry; not Jack.
“Jake earns well.”
This means Jake makes a lot of money.
Now, compare this to Ben: “Ben doesn’t earn a lot.”
So that means Ben does not make a lot of money.
So, in terms of the pronunciation of this word, I know a lot of students want to pronounce
“ea” as “e”, which usually is right; but in this case, we don’t pronounce this
as “ern”, we pronounce this as: “urn”.
So, like this: “urn”.
And if you can’t really remember, just think of the word “learn”, because we have the
word “earn” in it.
So that should help you with pronunciation.
So, I want you to say it with me: “earn”.
So, now we have another verb that means the same thing as “earn”, and that is “to
get” or “to be paid”.
So, when we’re talking about “pay”, we’re talking, again, about making money.
So, again, I have a smiley face because this is one of the best parts about working, is
“I get paid every week.”
This means I make money every week.
“Sue gets paid every two weeks.”
You might also talk about how well somebody gets paid.
Just like “earn”: “Jake earns well.”, “Jake gets paid well.”
“Ben doesn’t earn a lot.”, “Ben doesn’t get paid a lot.”
So they have the same meaning.
So, in this case, like we’ve talked about the passive before with up here: “I get
paid” or “I am paid”, this is a passive sentence.
Now, if you don’t know what that means – don’t worry.
You can watch a video, again, on that.
But the main thing is: When we’re talking about ourselves and how much money we’re
making, we usually use this: “I get paid a lot of money.”, “I get paid, you know,
a little money.”
We can also talk about companies, so when I worked at Blockbuster, I was working, you
know, the front desk, so the company at that time paid well.
“The company pays well.”, “The company doesn’t pay well.”
So, in this case, when we’re talking about the company, we’re using the active voice.
So, we’re not using the word “get”, here; we’re just using the word “pay”.
And you’ll notice that the spelling of the verbs, even though it’s the same verb, they’re
Okay, so in terms of pronunciation: “pay”, it rhymes with “day”.
And we have: “paid”.
So this is not pronounced like: “said”.
It looks like “said”, but it’s not pronounced like that.
It’s pronounced: “paid”.
“Pay” and “paid” when we’re talking about it in the passive voice or in the past
Now let’s look at some more verbs that have to do with jobs.
Okay, so, so far you have been hired, you have earned lots of money, you’ve been paid
really well by your company – so, what happens next?
Well, the next verb we’re going to talk about tells you just that.
“To be promoted”.
So, when you are promoted—there’s a happy face here—this is a very good thing, to
This means if this is you down here, you’re moving up and up and up in the company, so
you’re going from your position to a higher position.
So, imagine if I was a police officer, and I was great at my job, I worked there for
some years, and suddenly…
This might be a bit of a jump, but suddenly: “I was promoted to Chief of Police.”
It means I’ve moved from my position to a higher position.
And this new position, I’m going to earn more money, probably.
So: “I was promoted to Chief of Police.”, “I was promoted to Principal.”, “I was
promoted to Head Teacher.”
“I was promoted to Professor.”
So, these are all examples of moving up to a higher job.
And so, again, like we were talking about with some of those other verbs, like: “hired”,
we have here the word “was”.
And then we have “promoted” with “ed”, it’s the past participle of “promote”
– this means this is a passive sentence, because the promotion is happening to us.
So, we’re using the passive voice here, and we’re saying: “I was promoted to Chief
So, if you have a job and you’ve moved up in the job, you can say: “I was promoted
Or maybe you know a friend or your family, when they move up at work, you can say: “They
were promoted.”, “She was promoted.”, “He was promoted.”, “We were promoted.”
And then here is the new job title.
Now let’s look at the active voice: “The company promoted me.”
So, the company is doing this.
They’re helping me move up.
So I could say: “The manager promoted me.”, “My boss promoted me.”
And so, in this case, we don’t have the word “was” or “were”; we just have
the verb “promoted” because this is the active voice.
So: “I was promoted to Chief of Police.”, “The company promoted me.”
Okay, so now let’s look at pronunciation.
“Pro” is kind of like “progress”, okay?
That’s what “promote” reminds me of; it reminds me of “progress”, and it has
the same prefix to it: “pro”.
So this is two syllables: “pro-mote”.
And when we say it, we put the stress…
Or we say the second part louder and longer.
“I was promoted”.
So now let’s look at some more verbs.
Okay, now we have the opposite of “promoted”, which as you can see a sad face here, this
is: “to be demoted”.
So, what does it mean “to be demoted”?
Well, here we’re going up, up, up in the company; whereas when we’re demoted, we’re
going down to a lower job.
So this is not a good thing.
We’re going from our high position to a lower position.
So, for example, maybe I made a mistake at the company.
Maybe I was Chief of Police for a day, and then I made some big mistakes, and because
of those big mistakes, I was demoted.
So, I went down maybe back to my old job, or maybe even lower.
So, “demoted” is not a good thing.
And, again, we have this in the passive voice: “I was demoted.”, “He was demoted.”,
“She was demoted.”, “We were demoted.”, “They were demoted.”
Now, if the company, like here…
If the company is doing the demotion, we would say: “The company demoted me.”
So: “I was demoted.”, “The company demoted me.”
So, very similar to “promoted”, except opposite meanings.
And, again, this is two syllables: “de-mote”, and the stress is on the second syllable.
“I was demoted”.
“The company demoted me.”
So, we have a positive thing; we have a sad thing – what’s next?
Okay, this is a scary thing: “to be fired”.
This is probably the job…
The job verb you’re going to hear the most.
Hopefully it doesn’t happen to you, but we hear it a lot in movies and TV.
I hope it doesn’t happen to you.
“To be fired”.
So I’ve drawn here a very angry person, because usually when you are fired, you are
It means you lose your job, and it’s usually because the company thinks you did something
So maybe you were fired because you stole a lot of money from the company.
Maybe you were fired because, you know, you made a lot of mistakes on the job.
Maybe you were fired because, you know, your boss didn’t like you and maybe it wasn’t
So, “to be fired” is that you lose your job in a very negative way for a reason.
“Jim was fired.
He stole money from his company.”
Just an example.
And, again, we have here…
It’s in the passive form, so that means we have the “be” verb or “was”, and
“fired” with “e-d” or the past participle.
So: “Jim was fired.”, “I was fired.”, “He was fired.”, “She was fired.”
It means lose your job.
Now let’s talk about the active voice.
So, we can talk about our boss.
“My boss fired me.”, “The boss fired Jim.”
So, because the boss is the one doing the actual saying: “You’re fired”…
If you think about Donald Trump from his TV show, he used to always say: “You’re fired”.
“The boss fired Jim.”
So this is not in the passive tense; this is in the active voice.
This one is in the passive voice.
And hopefully, you know, you don’t get fired, so hopefully you won’t have to use this;
but if you ever do, you can say: “I was fired.”
Okay, so in terms of pronunciation, “fire”, it’s two syllables.
And it rhymes with: “hire” – “fire”.
And just like the verb we looked at before: “hire”, it has the same “i-r-e” spelling,
and in this case we just have the “f” for “fire”.
All right, now let’s look at some more verbs that have to do with jobs.
Okay, so we’ve talked about getting fired or when, you know, people are fired.
So let’s look at some other reasons why we might leave our company or our job.
So we have the next verb: “to be laid off”.
So this is not the same thing as being fired.
When we’re talking about being fired, we’re usually talking about your company thinks
you made a mistake or your boss didn’t like you, or there’s some reason why, you know,
you’re getting fired, and usually it’s a negative or a bad reason.
When you get laid off, a lot of the times…
You lose your job, but you know, you didn’t make a mistake or you didn’t do anything
It could be because the company is closing a factory; maybe the company has too many
people working there, and so, you know, they’re getting rid of some jobs, but it’s not because
you made a mistake.
It’s something to do with the company needs less workers.
So, it’s still a sad thing, though; I’ve put a sad face.
With “fired”, I put an angry face because usually you’re really angry when you’re
When you’re laid off, you know, a lot of people feel really sad.
Here’s an example of the verb “lay off” in a sentence: “I was laid off because the
factory is closing.”
Or: “I was laid off because my office needs less people.”
So, again, we have this in the passive voice, meaning we have the “be” verb or “was”,
and then we have “lay” in the past participle: “laid”.
“I was laid off.”
“People were laid off at my company because we had…
We didn’t have enough money to pay them.”
So, here I said it’s in the passive form.
We also have in the active form, when the company is doing the action.
“The company laid off 20 workers”.
“I was laid off.”, “The company laid off”, so you’ll notice here we have the
word “was” because it’s passive, and here we don’t because it’s active voice.
So, in terms of pronunciation: “lay” rhymes with “pay”.
So, again, we see a connection with job vocabulary.
And just like we had “laid off”, where we spell it: “p-a-i-d”…
Or, sorry: “paid off”, we have “laid off”, so it’s the same spelling: “a-i-d”.
Now, compare this to when we’re talking about a company, we have this maybe in a different
form, where we have “l-a-y-s”.
So, be careful here because a lot of people make spelling mistakes when they spell “laid
This is how we spell the past participle.
So, be careful when you’re spelling this word because it’s tricky.
Even for regular English speakers, “lay” and “laid” is one of those really confusing
things for spelling.
So now let’s look at some other verbs.
We have here: “to quit” and also “to resign”.
So these mean almost the same thing.
When we quit, it means we don’t want the job anymore, so we tell our boss, you know:
It means you don’t want the job; you’re going to find a new job.
Or maybe you already have found a new job.
The word “quit” is a bit informal, though.
So, I wouldn’t…
If I was quitting my job, I’d tell my friends: “Yes, you know, I quit today”, but I wouldn’t
write to the company: “I quit.”
I would use the word “resign”, because this is the professional word.
So, these have the same meaning, but “quit” is more informal – it’s how we talk to
our friends in conversation; whereas “resign” is what we would write to our bosses.
“I resign from my position.”
So, here is an example: “She quit because she got a better job.”
“He resigned because he found a new job.”
Or: “He resigned because he didn’t like the company; he didn’t like his boss.”
So, this is different from being fired, because it’s your choice when you quit.
You make the decision; it’s your choice.
And that’s why you’ll notice it’s not in the passive form, we don’t have: “She
This is always active.
“I quit.”, “You quit.”, “He quits.”, “She quits.”
In terms of the word “quit”, this is one of those irregular verbs in English where
we don’t use it with “e-d”.
So, if you’re talking about the past, you know: “20 years ago, I quit my job”, we
never say “quitted”.
What we say is “quit” for the present, as well as for the past tense.
This is different from “resigned”.
“Resigned” in the present, we can say: “resign”; and in the past, you’ll notice
it’s a regular “e-d” verb: “resigned”.
So, in terms of pronunciation, let’s just practice this quickly.
A lot of people, they don’t know how to pronounce this word because usually “q”…
It’s not really a letter that comes up a lot in English, so let’s say this word together.
And in terms of this sound: “resigned”, you’ll notice it’s two syllables.
And even though we have an “s” here, it’s pronounced like a “z”: “rezign”.
“I resigned from my company today.”
So, be aware of those pronunciation differences.
Okay, the last verb you are going to learn today from this lesson is a really happy verb;
we’re ending on a very happy note, and that is “to retire”.
So, what does it mean “to retire”?
Well, when we retire from our job, it means we’re leaving work, but it’s not because
we don’t like the job or because a better job comes along – it means we’re finished
We don’t need to do any more work.
You know, depending on your country, there’s different ages to retire.
In some countries, maybe it’s 60, maybe 70, maybe 65.
So when we’re older, we retire, and that means we’re finished work; we’re finished
So, for example, my father…
When he retired: “My father retired at 65.”
I want to retire at 40.
I don’t think it’ll happen.
I think I will retire probably at 70, because…
Actually, you know, I love teaching, so maybe…
We’ll say 70.
I want to retire at 70.
Okay, so let’s look at the spelling and pronunciation of this word now: “retire”.
So, we have three syllables: “re-ti-re”, and then when we say it quickly: “retire”.
So you’ll notice: “retire”, I say “ti” a little bit louder and longer.
So be careful with the stress, where you put it.
We don’t say: “re-tire”.
We say: “retire”.
And you’ll notice, like “hire” and “fire”, we have the “i-r-e” spelling again.
So, be careful with the spelling.
I know a lot of students, the spelling is the thing they don’t really think about,
but it actually is really important because when you can spell something, it helps you
to remember it better.
So practice your spelling, practice spelling these words, practice using them in sentences
and in conversation.
Again, just, you know…
These words do come up a lot.
We hear about people being fired, people quitting, people being retired, people being hired,
and so these are very important verbs, especially if you’re looking for a job or you know
people who are working – we use this a lot.
So, I wanted to thank you for watching this video.
I hope you’ve learned a lot here.
If you want to practice these words more, and I really recommend you do, come visit
us at www.engvid.com; there, you can do a quiz to practice all the words you’ve learned
here, including their spelling, grammar, and their meaning.
I also invite you to subscribe to my channel; I have a lot of different ESL or English learning
resources there, where, you know, I cover so many topics, such as: IELTS, TOEFL, grammar,
vocabulary, slang, business English – many different topics, so you might find that useful
Until next time, thank you for watching and take care.