Work In, For, or At?

I work in the place.

I work for the place.

I work at the place.

Which sentence is correct? Well, all of them are, but they mean different things. Let’s have a closer look…

TO WORK + IN

You work in a field:

I hope to work in marketing when I’m older.

All legal residents had the right to work in whatever sector they chose.

The Agency protected civilians through its work in education and health.

Many biological scientists and virtually all medical scientists work in research and development.

 You also work in some environment or a part of a company:

You should work in my Berlin bureau.

He can’t work in an office. He says it’s too stressful.

I work in the cafeteria.

I like to work in the fresh air.

I love to work in the museum. Its atmosphere is so warm and welcoming.


TO WORK + FOR

You work for a specific employer (a person or a company):

I understand you work for Adam Galloway.

Who are you working for?

He works for the U.S. Department of Transport.

She works for a big law firm in the city.

I work for the project manager. (You’d only say this if you reported directly to the project manager.)

I am self-employed, so I work for myself.

A person or a thing can work for a reason or purpose:

The people have formed a local organization that will work for attracting more tourists. (= …work to attract more tourists… .)

I am happy to work for the success of the company.

Let’s work for better future.

Extra-virgin olive oil works for cooking, frying, and dressing salads. (= The oil can be used for this.)


TO WORK + AT

You work at a specific location:

I work at a Shell gas station.

My cousin works at the hospital as a nurse.

He was working at his desk.

My mother works at a school library.

We can also say that something works at some level:

The same formula works at the project level as well as the organizational level.

No work, no matter how grand, succeeds unless it works at the level of details.

If you work at something, you try hard to develop or improve it:

I’ve spent three hours working at this problem.

I just want to work at my music.

Note that you can also work on something (= to spend time producing or improving something):

He’ll have to work on getting fit before the game.

Doom and Madlib decided to work on different projects.

I work at/on being the best plumber in town.

Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask them in the comments below! 😉

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