I understand the confusion. In Spanish, it’s one word for the same idea: “activity directed toward making or doing something,” often for money or survival. That word in Spanish is trabajo. Further, the verb trabajar means to work.

But in English, work is a non-count noun, often used in idiomatic phrases:

“OK, honey, I’m off to work. See you later!” Bob calls out to John as he goes out the door every morning.

Selma can’t party tonight; she’s got work in the morning.

In both these sentences, work refers to the subject’s job, whatever that is. But job can’t be substituted for work in these sentences, and vice versa in sentences where we use the word job.

In English, job is a count noun, meaning it can be made plural:

Betty has two jobs because she’s got 4 kids to take care of.

Because job is countable, it can take an indefinite article:

“I really need to get a job!” Marsha said as she searched for money in her purse to pay the Uber driver.

You can’t use an indefinite article with work, however, because it’s non-count:

“I really need to get a work,” Marsha said.


That sentence is not correct.

“Get a job!” the yuppie asshole screamed at the homeless person.

You can’t say:

“Get a work!”


That sentence is not correct.

Work can also function as a verb in a sentence, while job cannot.

If you work hard, you’ll succeed brilliantly.

That sentence is correct.

If you job hard, you’ll succeed brilliantly.


That sentence is not correct. You can’t use job as a verb.

You can modify the non-count noun work with a quantifier, such as some:

“You’ve still got some work to do, young man! Don’t leave the house yet!” Gladys told her lazy son.

You can also use a quantifier phrase:

I’ve got a lot of work to do today.

You can’t say:

I’ve got a lot of job to do today.


That sentence is not correct.

Finally, there are a few instances in which work can be a count noun, but only with an adjective phrase:

That movie is a work of art.

But in general, work is non-count while job is countable.

Still unsure? Ask me a question in the comments.

Written with StackEdit.

Photo by Pauline Loroy on Unsplash

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