Work vs. job

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

The problem with “work” and “job” is in the interconnection between the words. To explain the meaning of one, we often have to use the other, which may lead to confusion and misunderstanding. That’s why in this case ample examples are especially important. Let’s analyze the two nouns:

Work Job
1.       (uncountable noun) if you have work (or you’re in work), you have a job (1).

Examples:

  • Fewer and fewer people are in work.
  • I was out of work in 1998.
  • People need to have work to meet their basic needs.
1.       (countable noun) if you have a job, you’re employed, you have work to do to make money.

Examples:

  • Once I’m in New York, I can get a job.
  • So many people have lost their jobs.
  • There are some overseas job vacancies I am interested in.

 

2.       (uncountable noun) your work is the activities you have to do to make money, it’s your dutiesresponsibilities, what you are required to do.

Examples:

  • What kind of work do you do?
  • I used to take work home.
  • I’ve got work to do, so please don’t make a noise.
  • I will have to finish work very late tonight.
2.       (countable noun) your job is your occupation, your post of employment.

Examples:

  • What is your job? – I am a software engineer.
  • I love my job because it gives me an opportunity to help people.
  • In our job it’s essential to have good communication skills.
  • He is one of the best in his job.
3.       (uncountable noun) the place where you work is called work.

Examples:

  • He is at work now.
  • I go to work by car.
  • It’s just an hour or so until I get off work.

 

 

3.       (countable noun) a job is a particular task to accomplish, a challenge to meet.

Examples:

  • The job of building a team is not an easy thing to do.
  • Let’s save major painting jobs for the summer.
  • Let me do the job.
  • I hate this backbreaking job.
  • My next job is to get the team to the World Cup finals.
4.       (uncountable noun) work is something you produce as a result of an activity or of doing your job.

Examples:

  • I am proud of my work.
  • You can’t do really good work if you are tired.
4.       (singular noun + to/-ing) if you say that you have a job doing something, you are emphasizing how difficult it is:

Examples:

  • I have a hard job selling this product.
  • It was a real job to get the wheel off the bike.
5.       (countable noun) a work is something such as a paintingbook or piece of music produced by an artist, writer or composer.

Examples:

  • She usually exhibits her works at this gallery.
  • This book is the complete works of Shakespeare.
  • The church has a few valuable works of art.

 

5.       (countable noun, SLANG) a job is a crime in which money or goods are stolen, or an action /activity that is dishonest or unpleasant.

Examples:

  • He was put in prison for 5 years for doing a bank job.
  • He really did a job on her, telling her that he would always love her and then moving to Fiji with someone else.
6.       (countable noun: sing. – works, pl. – works) a works is a place where something is manufactured or where an industrial process is carried out.

Examples:

  • The steel works could be seen for miles.
  • He usually has lunch in the works canteen.
Good job (set expression)

If you say that someone is doing a good job, you mean they are doing something very well.

Examples:

  • You’ve done a good job with Sam.
  • Wow! Did you do it yourself? Good job!

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So, as you see from the table above, we usually use “work” and “job” in the context of career, employment, making money etc. (see meaning 1, 2, 3, 4 of “work” and meaning 1, 2, 3 of “job”). There are other meanings of the words as well (see meaning 5 and 6 of “work” and meaning 4 and 5 of “job”).

Of course, proper understanding of the meaning of the words is essential for the correct use. However, there are certain “work” and “job” idioms and set expressions (like “good job” in the table above) which are better to be memorized. Make sure to subscribe to our blog to receive useful materials about such expressions and more!