Is there any difference in meaning between in the job, on the job, at the job? For example:

I have to do a lot today in the job/on the job/at the job.

I feel they all mean the same in the context, but if it is not so, what is the difference? Is there contexts where I have to use one but not the others?

  • 1
    I wouldn't use any, I would say "I have a lot to do at work today". On the job is the only one that is idiomatic - I suggest you try googling it. Dec 6, 2019 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


"In the job" is used to refer to someone being placed in a job role.

Example: "I have been in this job for 7 years".

"On the job" is used to say that someone is presently engaged on a particular piece of work or in situ on a work location. In British English, it is particularly common in building trades, where each individual piece of work is called "a job". (I should also add that "on the job" is also British slang for sexual intercourse, more commonly used in previous decades)

Example "I'm on the job now".

"At the job" would be used to refer to your location, having arrived at the site of a particular "job", or piece of work.

Example: "I've arrived at the job".

None of these particular fit your example. The most idiomatic way of saying it would probably be:

I have a lot to do today at work.

This is different from saying "I have a lot of work to do today", which could mean you have chores. "At work" idiomatically means at your place of employment.

  • So I if I say that "I am at the job" that could mean that I am elsewhere doing a specific task, but I am not at work, right? Dec 6, 2019 at 11:42
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    "The job" (definite article) would refer to a specific job, different from other jobs. It is language you would use if you were self-employed, and each customer was a job, or, as a I mention in my answer, you were a jobbing builder, or your work comprised of individual tasks that you referred to as "job" in your field. Most people in employment have one job - they wouldnt call it "the job".
    – Astralbee
    Dec 6, 2019 at 13:35

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