Can you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between take up a position of... and take on a position of...? For example:

Kate took up a position of HR manager last month.

Kate took on a position of HR manager last month.

According to Ngram Viewer both can be used. Althouh take up a position is more common. I'd like to know if native speakers sense any difference between the two.

  • For both, it should be "the position", which makes it difficult to assess the differences
    – gotube
    Nov 1, 2022 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


To "take something up" means simply to start doing it. In this context, it means to start being the HR manager.

To "take something on" means to start doing something challenging. In this context, it means to start being the HR manager and includes the nuance that being the HR manager is challenging.


They both seem to be OK, but it should be 'the' position, as there is no indication that there are multiple HR manager positions available.

The former is more usual, but if you replace 'position', with 'job' or 'take', then the latter would be more common.

  • Thank you a lot for the answer. I'm aware that both are fine. What I'd like to know is if there is a nuance of difference between the two. Nov 1, 2022 at 13:17
  • The only vague difference that I can think of is that 'take on', is often used when something is challenging, or a burden. e.g. "She took on the job of reorganising the entire filing system". That is not always the case, though.
    – PRL75
    Nov 1, 2022 at 13:23

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