What are the questions that one can ask to find out another person's job? Are the following correct/appropriate?

(a) Was machen Sie beruflich?

(b) Was sind Sie von Beruf?

(c) Was machen Sie?

(d) Was arbeiten Sie?

(e) Wie arbeiten Sie?

(f) Was ist Ihre Arbeit?

(g) Wie ist Ihre Arbeit?

  • (e) and (g) have other meanings. (e) as it stands right now is pretty uncommon. It could be used in a sentence like "Wie arbeiten Sie unter Zeitdruck?", suggesting the question if someone is able to work without worry or haste, but though quickly and efficient when time is running out. - (g) asks if a job or task is interesting. – Em1 Dec 29 '14 at 9:21

(a) would be the best question, (b,c,d,f) are also correct. (e) is not correct and (g) means: "How do you like your job?"


I´m not a native German speaker, but I used to study in a Goethe-Institut. I learned there (and used to heard) form B:

Was sind Sie von Beruf?

A, D and F also sound OK. But C sounds to me a little too broad to be interpreted as a question specifically about someone's job.

  • 1
    If context is given, C is absolutely fine. Without context, you're right. – Em1 Dec 29 '14 at 15:34

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