I am studying with the book "Grammar in Use" by Raymond Murphy (2019 ed.), going through phrasal verbs. I found this example at pag. 275.

My holidays are nearly over. Next week I'll be back at work.

Is it a mistake? I've only just heard "to be back to work". The COCA corpus agrees with me. What do you think and why?

  1. My holidays are nearly over. Next week I'll be back at work
  2. My holidays are nearly over. Next week I'll be back to work
  • Can you please clarify in what way you think the sentence is mistaken? Perhaps a link to the search you did on the COCA?
    – Elininja
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 15:36
  • Location uses at. We were at work when he called. We went back to work before noon. Both are fine. Just expressed two different ways.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


I believe, the issue is the verb:

Be ( static, location) - requires AT - be/stay at work

Go/return (movement) - requires TO - go/return to work


These aren't really phrasal verbs. "at" refers to being in or near a location or state. "to" refers to a destination. If you are working, you are at work. If you are returning from a vacation with work as your destination, you are going back to work. Both are correct, and both are the standard, non-phrasal meaning of the prepositions, and they follow "back", not a verb.

As a side note, I'm not sure what punctuation mark you're using for contractions, but it's not the standard apostrophe.


Murphy is correct.

It is more common to hear someone say, "Get back to work."
Or "I'm going back to work."

However, in this construction, Murphy is correct, but I would use a comma after the clause: "Next week,"

You second sentence Would be correct like this:

Next week, I'll be going back to work.

Or you could say, "Next week, I'll be back on the job."

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