1. I went to my sister's work today.
  2. I went to my sister's work place today.

Which of the above sentences should I use? Do I have to use the second one?

  • 2
    Welcome to ELL.SE. One of the expectations here is that you demonstrate your initial research; for example, looking up work in Macmillan turns up the meaning 3. [uncountable] a place where someone goes to do their job, as does Collins, Work is the place where you do your job. If the dictionary definition is not sufficient, please edit your post to explain why, I strongly encourage you to take the tour and review the help center for additional guidance.
    – choster
    Sep 27 '18 at 21:48
  • Suppose your sister is carving a big statue. That is her work, so you can go to her work. Now suppose your sister is researching ideas. You can't go to her work. But in both cases you can go to her place of work. Sep 27 '18 at 22:54
  • probably office, aka place of work [very formal]
    – Lambie
    Sep 27 '18 at 23:00
  • @choster, Vickifred's question is actually quite subtle, and I doubt if a dictionary on its own could provide an explanation of why the first sentence sounds wrong.
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 29 '18 at 6:56
  • @javalatte The first sentence isn't wrong, and I actually disagree with your answer. It might be informal, but it is quite unexceptional at least in North America, and based on the sample sentences I had assumed this was also the case elsewhere. They're putting in a new carpet at my work. He left it at his work. I wouldn't use it in business communication or really must writing in general, but we used it all the time growing up and no one has objected it in my adult life on the opposite coast.
    – choster
    Sep 29 '18 at 12:57

Work can mean an activity, a place or several other things. If we assign ownership to work, for example "my work", we are generally talking about an activity, not a place. If we want to talk about a place of work, we never assign ownership: it is assumed that we are talking about the place of work of the person we just mentioned.

I went to work today - my place of work
She went to work today - her place of work

So if you say "my sister's work" I would assume that you were talking about the activity that she does, and going there doesn't sound right. You can make your sentence sound right by saying

I went to see my sister at work today

Here, work isn't assigned an owner, so it's ok to mean a place of work. Your sister was the last person mentioned, so it's her place of work.

The second sentence is correct but work place quite formal. As Lambie has suggested, you could say office or school rather than work place.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.