Lesson 22

Do vs Doing - Continental Airlines

Level: Pre-Intermediate
Lesson contents:
  • Do vs Doing.
  • Airline vocabulary.
  • An excellent job description based on reality.

Always watch the video several times without subtitles first. Train your ears! Your pronunciation will be much better if you follow this simple rule.

Exercises for this lesson:
How to do the lessons:
  1. Watch the video without subtitles.
  2. Do all the Exercises.
  3. Come back to this page.
  4. Watch the video with English Subtitles. Use the Pause button. People speak fast!

Problems? See general support or ask your question here.

Continental Airlines Customer Representative. Do vs Doing.

Watch this video, then click on Exercise 1

Same video with Precise Subtitles beginning at 00:47


Some teachers might say that I'm taking the difference between the Present Progressive and the Present Continuous much too seriously here. Some might even say that I'm not teaching real English.

My friend Siegrfried and I were interviewing people at one of the entries to the airport in Atlanta, Georgia one morning, asking people a variety of questions, including "Where are you going?" as people with suitcases approached the door. I suggested we go into the airport and find some airport personnel and ask them what they do for a living, since we were just beginning to collect "job" videos.

We found a really friendly fellow named Johnson who works for Continental Airlines. As soon as he agreed to be interviewed in front of his check-in counter, I set up the camera quickly, and my friend asked him "What are you doing?", and as you can see in exercise 9, he began explaining his job very simply and coherently.

But I couldn't help myself. I interrupted and said "No, Siegfried, the question we want to ask is What do you do?" After apologizing to Johnson, we began again with the "correct question".

The point is simply that in real life, these 2 questions are sometimes interchangeable. After all, he didn't answer "I'm talking to you". He explained what he does.

On the other hand, when teaching beginners and pre-intermediate students, we want to make certain that primary grammatical distinctions are made clear. So in this sense, I don't regret my interruption.