I'm a software engineer. One of my friends, Daniel is an ophthalmology surgeon. For me, ophthalmology is more professional while eye is more common and easier to understand.

Is it clear and natural to say it like this?

I'm a layman for/to ophthalmology field, in contrast, Daniel is profession (technical guy) in that field.

  • More commonly, perhaps, I'm a layman in the ophthalmology field. Jul 20, 2020 at 14:24
  • It sounds like I'm going to work in the ophthalmology field, as a software engineer, right?
    – JJJohn
    Jul 20, 2020 at 14:28
  • 2
    No - saying you're a "layman" in / on / to / for / etc. [some field / discipline / subject] doesn't particularly imply that you are going to work in that area in the future. It just means you're not professionally knowledgeable about it (at time of speaking, but usually with the implication that this isn't going to change; it's an "enduring" characteristic, like being male, or fair-skinned). Jul 20, 2020 at 14:53

1 Answer 1



When it comes to ophthalmology, I am a layman. In contrast, Daniel is a professional in that field.

Other choices:

In regards to the field of ophthalmology... I am a layman.

I am a layman, when it comes to ophthalmology.

I do not think these are correct:

I'm a layman to the field of ophthalmology *

I'm a layman for the field of ophthalmology *

The following is a bit closer to being correct. But I personally still wouldn't recommend it:

I'm a layman in the field of ophthalmology *

Because this seems to indicate you are "in" the field. In the cases where you aren't in the field at all, then the preposition "in" shouldn't be used.

  • I agree that I would never use "a layman for the field". "To", however, could be a possible option. I wouldn't use layman with it though. I would say "a newcomer/latecomer to that field". As you've correctly pointed out saying "layman" suggests the person could be an outsider and thus is not actually in the field. I think the same logic applies to "to a field": a layperson hasn't exactly come to the field.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jul 21, 2020 at 0:50

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