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ESL Medium Quiz

What's My Line? - Job Words and Terms

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “What’s My Line?” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Job Words and Terms quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

'What's my line?' challenges your job words and terms quiz.

Many years ago there used to be a gameshow where the panellists had to work out what job a 'mystery person' did, called 'What's My Line?’. Here is a chance for you to revise and enlarge your awareness in English of the names of jobs people do, and the places and objects and practices that are (as we say) 'part and parcel' of such work.

  1. These days, this person sits indoors using a computer ~ but for many centuries people did this job using a large drawing-board, in a studio. What they were planning, would then be built outdoors : houses, factories, schools and all sorts of other buildings. Such a person is ...
    This begins with a vowel, remember ~ so Answer 2 was not totally accurate!
  2. This person spends the most important days of his (or her) life in studios and concert halls, but probably spends far more time on two other activities: practising (alone or with others) and travelling in between professional engagements. He or she probably started along this career path at a very young age; he or she does not 'play an instrument' as such, but will very often work with other musicians who do.
    A singer is the only one who 'does not play an instrument' (although it could well be argued ~ and not infrequently is ~ that the human voice is indeed 'an instrument that you're born with').
  3. This is someone who helps other people who own animals, and the 'doctors' who look after the animals.
    'Veterinary' is nearly always shortened to 'vet' in everyday spoken English. ('The dog needs to go and see the Vet again.')
  4. Someone who does this job will 'leave the world behind' and blast off into space. As part of their earlier training they may well have flown conventional ( = fixed-wing ) aircraft, but they also need to learn how to cope in weightless conditions, since there is no natural gravity in space. While they are away from the surface of the earth, they may be doing scientific experiments, making observations and servicing satellites ~ in conditions that are often uncomfortable, and occasionally very dangerous.
    Don't forget the 'an'!
  5. This person goes out, wearing a uniform, five or six days a week, usually on foot, to all the same places, to do a very important job for people. He is probably ...
    A postal worker would be most likely to fit with all the parts of this description, including following the same route each time (which a policeman probably wouldn't do, and a firefighter should not need to!)
  6. This person works at a swimming-pool or beach, but does not get wet very often. Their job is to watch members of the public and check nobody is in any difficulty or danger in the water. If a problem does develop, he or she must go in quickly and rescue the person in trouble.
    Answer 1 is a virtual translation of what the French call this person.
    The Coastguard are something rather different: you might like to look this word up in a dictionary or online. It has certainly been important to the safety of Britain (an island nation) and her citizens and visitors.
  7. This person, too, spends far more time practising and travelling than in actual performance. He performs in a stadium, or at least on a pitch, usually with thirty-two other people altogether. What does he do?
    If there are 33 people officially on the pitch, that's two teams and three officials; the teams contain 15 players each, so this must be rugby rather than ('Association') football.
  8. This person also puts on a uniform, which is bright-coloured: usually at about eight o'clock on weekday mornings, and about three o'clock in the afternoon. She (again, usually 'she') will help children go to and from school safely, by stopping the traffic so they can cross the road. What do we normally call this person?
    Answer 4 is officially true, but the phrase in Answer 3 is recognised everywhere ~ because the sign that she carries to stop the traffic is shaped like a lollipop (or a tennis racquet, if you prefer) with the word STOP printed clearly in the circle on each side. We think more of lollipops in connection with happy children, than we do about tennis racquets!
    A 'crossing sweeper' would have been a much older sight, from the days when most traffic was horse-drawn, so someone had to sweep a clean space on the surface of the street for people to walk across without their boots getting very dirty ...
  9. This person probably sits in a large room all day, where many others are speaking into headsets or telephones. They may be ringing up other people, or perhaps others are calling in with questions for them to answer. What is the usual English name for such a workplace?
    This would be a call centre, though quite possibly working for a public utility (such as a gas, water or electricity company, or perhaps a bank or insurance company; as in Answer 4)
  10. This is someone who makes a living by selling things, but not from a permanent shop. They will typically arrive very early in the day and set up a temporary stall, perhaps in a town square, even if the weather is not pleasant. They need a fine loud voice to shout and advertise their goods.
    In this case we are not told exactly what they are selling, but the description sounds more like a market than anywhere else; read it again and make sure!

Author: Ian Miles

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