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12 / 05 / 2004

JOB vs. WORK: meaning and examples

Good morning.

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the very nice birthday e-mails and electronic birthday cards. I appreciated them very much!

One of our veteran Daily Vitamin recipients, Martha, suggested we look at the difference between the words work and job. I think it's a wonderful suggestion because it's true that these words cause lots of confusion amongst English students. Job (noun) and work (noun) have the same meaning: "an activity that a person does to earn money." However, there are some differences to keep in mind:

I) Job is ALWAYS a noun and work can be a noun or a verb.

Example 1: Job (noun)
I'm very happy. I just started my new job and I love it!

Example 2: Work (as a verb)
He has a wonderful job but he works so many hours that he never sees his children.

Example 3: Work (as a noun)
I'm looking for work in the banking sector.

II) Job is a count noun (1 job, 2 jobs, 3 jobs, etc.) and work is a non-count noun.

Example 4:
I'm looking for work after being fired from the last three jobs I had.

As you can see, these nouns ARE NOT interchangeable in Example 4. You CANNOT say "the last three works I had." However, we could replace the non-count noun work in Example 3 for the count noun job:

Example 3 (bis):
I'm looking for a job in the banking sector.

Best wishes,

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