Sunday, 15 January 2012

What Are Your Work Colleagues Like?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative or a friend. You are talking about about work/ working conditions. The other person wants you to tell him/ her a little bit about your work colleagues. So, he/ she decides to ask you "what are your work colleagues like?". 

The other person could choose to be a bit less formal and say:

¿Cómo son tus compañeros de trabajo?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
¿Cómo son sus compañeros de trabajo?


OUR TIP

The first thing to note is that you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about finding words which describe your work colleagues appropriately. Perhaps you want to describe colleagues in the following terms:
  • Indicate whether you have many/ few work colleagues*.
  • Indicate whether you work/ don't work in a team.
  • Give the number of work colleagues in your team.
  • Identify individual work colleagues and give personal details*.
  • Describe your work colleagues collectively*.
*NB Please remember that descriptions may have to be changed to suit the gender of the person you are describing. Please refer to grammar notes below on how to choose the gender of words which describe collectively more than one individual.


Here are some examples of how you could describe work colleagues:
  • Tengo muchos compañeros de trabajo  (I have many work colleagues).
  • No tengo muchos compañeros de trabajo  (I don't have many work colleagues).
  • Tengo pocas compañeras de trabajo  (I have few female work colleagues).
  • Tengo cinco compañeros de trabajo (I have five work colleagues).
  • Formo parte de un equipo de trabajo pequeño (I work in a small team).
  • Pedro es mi jefe (Pedro is my boss).
  • Javier es el Jefe de Ventas (Javier is the Head of Sales).
  • Ana lleva el Departamento de Producción (Ana is in charge of the Production Department).
  • Antonio trabaja en el departamento de contablilidad (Antonio works in the Accounts Department).
  • Todos mis compañeros de trabajo son muy amables  (all may work colleagues are very kind).
  • Todas mis compañeras de trabajo son muy jóvenes  (all my female work colleagues are very young).
  • Todos mis compañeros de trabajo son muy serios  (all my work colleagues are very conscientious).
  • Todos mis compañeros de trabajo son muy simpáticos  (all my work colleagues are very nice).
Now you should practice answering the question:
¿Cómo son tus compañeros de trabajo?



*Please see grammar below


Grammar
When a describing word/ adjective describes/ applies to more than one individual, its plural form must be used. The choice of gender for the plural form should be decided as follows:

1.- When describing a group in which each individual is a male or each item is a word of masculine gender, use the plural/ masculine form of the describing word/ adjective. Examples:

  • Pedro y Antonio son altos (Pedro and Antonio are tall).
  • El tren y el autobús son rápidos (the train and the bus are fast).


2.- When describing a mixed group of male and female individuals or mixed masculine and feminine gender words, use the plural/ masculine form of the describing word/ adjective. Examples:

  • María y Pedro son altos (María and Pedro are tall).
  • La moto y el coche son rápidos (the motorbike and the car are fast).


3.- When describing a group in which each individual is a female or each item is a word of feminine gender, use the plural/ feminine form of the describing word/ adjective. Examples:

  • María y Ana son altas (María and Ana are tall).
  • La moto y la avioneta son rápidas (the motorbike the light aircraft are fast).


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