People are sometimes fail to convert their mother tongue to foreign language, not only because of the limited vocabulary but also the influence imposed by the structure order of their native language. Let me take the sentence below as an example.

My first job was in a school.

I want to deliver the meaning that I once worked as a staff in a school, but comes such a sentence which may be abnormal out of my mouth when I don't have time to think about it.

I want to know is such a sentence understandable or grammatically acceptable to native ears?


1 Answer 1


My sense is that the sentence is perfectly understandable and grammatically acceptable. It will be interpreted as your having had your first job (in any capacity, that is, as a teacher, as an administrative employee, as a janitor) in a school.

Among other uses, the verb "be" can introduce a description or a place. Compare:

  • My first job was being a teacher. (description)
  • I was in a school. (place)

I think "be + in ..." will sound more idiomatic if what is introduced is the field or area of work rather than a physical place:

  • My first job was in teaching.

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