What's the difference between work, a job, and business?

Most of the lessons on PhraseMix are tagged with topics that are covered in that lesson:

PhraseMix tags

There are lots of different topics. A full list of all of them can be seen on the "Phrase Categories" page. If you look carefully, you might notice that there is a category for "business" lessons, but there are also lessons about "work" and another tag for "job". There are different numbers of lessons for each of these tags. But don't they all mean the same thing?

I actually use "work", "job", and "business" differently. Here's an explanation of what they mean to me:

  • "Work" is not only something that you do for money, it's also a place that you go to every day. We talk about "going to work" in the morning, and at the end of the day when you see your spouse or roommate, you ask: "How was work?" So I think of "work" as being all the things that happen while you're working.

    If a PhraseMix lesson is about two people gossiping in an office or about someone asking a coworker for a favor, I'll label it "work" but not "job" or "business".

  • The word "job" has more to do with the company you work for, and what kind of work you do. Some good phrases to think of when you think of the word "job" are "find a job", "lose your job", "job hunting", "my job is (fun/boring/difficult/etc.)"

    The PhraseMix lessons that I tag with the label "job" are useful for talking about your job, not necessarily language that you use at work.

  • "Business English" has come to mean a specific type of language which is used in the business world. It's polite and usually a bit formal. It brings to mind images of talking to a customer or client, shaking hands, negotiating, sending important e-mails, and so on. It also includes economic terminology and vocabulary for talking about companies that you might learn in a traditional "business English" textbook.

    Another common use of the word "business" is talking about a small store or company that you own yourself. So I also include some phrases for talking about owning and running a business.

The difference between these words in the real world can be a little fuzzy. You'll see that a lot of the lessons on PhraseMix fall into more than one category. But it may help to think about "work", "job", and "business" in this way when you use these words in your daily life.

Examples of "work" lessons:

“Albert got all defensive when I commented on his design.”

“No, I packed my lunch today. Thanks, though.”

“We have access to all kinds of personal information about the patients.”

“OK, fair enough.”

Examples of "job" lessons:

“Well, I think you'd be a great fit for our team.”

“I wish I'd studied something a little more practical.”

“It's super important that I get this internship.”

“Well, I'm currently employed as an account manager at a charter airline.”

Examples of "business" lessons:

“If payment is not received by January 15th, you will be charged a $150 penalty.”

“The real key is establishing a relationship with the client.”

“A limp handshake leaves a bad impression.”

“I see some potential in this idea.”

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