English Vocabulary Lesson: Job, Work, & Business

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A friend of mine is looking for a job. He used to work for a bank, but he lost his job when a new company bought the bank and downsized the office. Working in the finance industry seems like interesting work, but I heard it is hard to find a secure job. There are a lot of entry level jobs in the banking business, but not many people seem to work for the same company for a very long time. I guess that’s how business is these days.

These three words, job, work, and business are similar, but we use them differently. Do you know how to use them?  Have a look at the paragraph above and then check today’s lesson:  

Job is a countable noun and there are a few ways you can use job:

  • A job is a task that one does:
    • You did a nice job on the ABC project.
    • I have several important jobs to do this week in the office.
  • A job is also paid position for doing regular work:
    • Jack has a job in a bank.
    • Tommy has an interesting job in international marketing.
  • Here are some typical questions we ask using job:
    • How’s your new job?
    • Do you think Tom did a good job on his presentation?

If you want to know someone’s job, you can ask, “What do you do?”

Work is a verb, but it is also a non-countable noun. Here are a few ways you can use work:

  • Work is an activity requiring mental or physical activity
    • You did nice work on the ABC project.
    • I have a lot of work to do this week in the office.

    · Work is also the place or industry where one is employed

    • I have to go to work early tomorrow.
    • International marketing is interesting work that involves a lot of travel.
  • Here are some typical questions we ask using work:
    • What kind of work do you do?
    • You put a lot of work into that presentation, didn’t you?

Business is a noun and can have a countable or non-countable use:

  • As a countable noun, business means the industry where one is employed
    • Ted has worked in the insurance business all his life.
    • The real estate business took a nosedive a few years ago.
  • When we talk about the commerce in general, business is a non-countable collective noun:
    • Business is not so good these days because of the economy.
    • This new marketing campaign should help us drum up business
  • Typical questions using business
    • What line of business are you in?
    • Do you think Tom enjoys the education business?
    • How’s business?

 So what do you do? Do you like your job? Is it hard work? Is it an interesting business to be in?




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