Work, work, work work, work

You can always learn a lesson from Ri Ri. Work and job are probably two of the most often confused words and this confusion often sneaks through into higher levels.  Time to stamp it out.

Key things to remember about WORK:

  • As a verb it describes the general activity and you can also say you work as a magician.
  • As a noun (uncountable) you use work when you are describing the activities that you do within your job role/ at your place of work.
  • Go to work (no article ever, ever, ever).
  • Be at work (no article ever, ever, ever).
  • Finish/start work (no article ever….you get the gist).
  • Being a student is like having a job, so you can say you have lots of work to do (uncountable), but if you want to specify individual things, you need to use the countable words: assignment, project, task, exercise or activity, or say piece of work.
  • As a noun (countable) you use work(s) when referring to the arts. Eg. Picasso produced many great works of art.


Key things to remember about JOB:

  • Only a noun (countable).
  • Referring to what work you do, the word job describes your profession.
  • At home we often say we have some (odd) jobs to do when we refer to chores.


With today being International Workers’ Day, you can have the day off, but for extra collocations check out Espresso English’s page on work, job and career.

No picture for this post.  What image would you put for work?



Wily words

Ok so I have spent most of the week surgically attached to my tissue box so I haven’t updated for a couple of days.  Today some common areas of confusion popped up so here is a little bit of clarification.

  1. Job vs. work Here is a video clip outlining the difference between these commonly confused words.  Remember that we use ‘work’ in expressions to refer to the place where we work and the general idea (therefore without ‘the’):

  • I go to work by bus.
  • I left work late.
  • How was work today?

2. Travel vs. trip

Travel is our umbrella term under which a lot of more specific words shelter.  The most common mistake is for students to use ‘travel’ as a countable noun eg.  I went on a travel.  This is incorrect.  We need to use ‘trip’ in this situation.  ‘Travel’ is used as an uncountable, concept noun, for instance ‘travel broadens your horizons’.  It is the idea of travelling we are expressing here.

We can use travel in the plural form in the expression ‘on one’s travels’, meaning the places you’ve been to.  This can be used for someone who has been to a lot of places, ‘I met a lot of interesting people on my travels.’

There are various expressions using trip:

  • a round trip (to go somewhere and come back)
  • a business trip
  • a day trip
  • a school trip (an excursion is a physically demanding activity)

3. Verbs of visual perception: see, watch, look at

I thought this was quite a good general rule:

And for some quick practice: