Donde trabajas?  Donde trabaja usted?
Am I right that both of these mean the same thing (Where do you work?) but with 1 being the informal version and 2 being the formal?
If so, what situations generally would you use 1 vs 2? In English I would almost always use the informal version of something unless the situation REALLY called for it (just work, government or landlord correspondence pretty much). Would that be acceptable in Spanish, or seen as rude?
- AlexRSSMay 2020
In Latin America, just to be sure, always use the formal way USTED, unless is a friend or a family OR they use the informal version with you first. Once you started to use the informal way it could be seen as ofensive if you switch back to the formal way.
in mexico we use the formal way "donde trabaja?" (is common to use without "usted") , only with your boss at work or older people, you can use informal at the street.
Hi Alex, in Spanish we only use an informal greet/talk when we know the person (as friends, familiars, etc), other than know person are youngers persons. In other situation you should use a formal talk no matter to how you are talking to.