1- I like working in classroom

2- I like working in classrooms.

3- I like working in a classroom

What are the differences here ?

My guess is that 1 and 2 are synonyms and the speakers are talking about any classroom in general. if so what is the subtle difference ?

In the third one the speaker talks about one classroom from a specific group (as his school or something like that). Still unsure, could anybody help in that ?

  • Classroom cannot be used as a mass noun, so sentence 1 is ungrammatical: the singular must have a determiner. The other two are fine, with an equivalent meaning. Nov 22, 2016 at 4:18
  • Thank you so much for clarification but what equivalent meaning they share here ? the meaning that I like teaching in any classroom in general or the meaning of I like teaching in any classroom in a specific group (as for example in a school) ? Nov 22, 2016 at 4:24
  • There is no difference in meaning bwtween working in classrooms and working in a classroom. They both mean, well, "working in a classroom". You will need to add a modifier to make clear a different meaning, e.g.: "I like working in air-conditioned classrooms." Nov 22, 2016 at 4:27

2 Answers 2


I like working in banking. <-- grammatical, as 'banking' is a mass noun. It refers to the general industry of banks.

I like working in a bank. <-- grammatical, as 'bank' refers to an indefinite singular bank.

I like working in bank. <-- ungrammatical, as the singular 'bank' needs a determiner.

I like working in oil paints. <-- grammatical, as 'oil paints' is a mass noun.

  • Thank you very much , it is much clear now. But how do you consider "oil paints" as a mass noun ? But why you does consider "oil paints" as a mass noun ? Nov 22, 2016 at 11:15
  • Sadly, like too many things in English, you have to learn lots of special cases.
    – Anniepoo
    Nov 23, 2016 at 17:15
  • Mass nouns are things that aren't countable. "I have 4 TV sets" makes sense, but "I have 4 butter" does not. Butter is a mass noun, "a pat of butter" is a countable noun. Like many structures in English, there are lots of special cases, and artists media is one such. So 'oil paints' is imagined as this big lump of oily, gooey color, not a series of dented, paint smeared tiny tubes. The wikipedia entry for mass nouns gives more details.
    – Anniepoo
    Nov 23, 2016 at 17:28

No, you are not right.

When you talk about something in general, you use an indefinite article in front of that countable thing or use it in the plural. So sentences #2 and #3 are correct. The first sentence is not grammatical.


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