Can anybody explain why we use and do not use an indefinite article in front of the noun “job”?


  1. It is a job he desired all his life.
  1. What job would you like to do?

Is it because the sentence is interrogative?

  • 3
    Because that's how you formulate questions with what, which, or whose. (Not sure what else there is to say, maybe this belongs on English Language Learners.)
    – Stuart F
    Aug 31 at 14:38
  • What is a job that you would like to do? There you have the article. So it's okay. Aug 31 at 14:39
  • 2
    As @StuartF suggests, whether to use a in your pair of examples has nothing to do with the word job. That word is in no way special in this regard. Aug 31 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Which and what are determiners, and they cannot normally be combined with other determiners such as articles.

The only context in which what a job might appear is in the exclamation "What a job!", where "What" has a different meaning and different grammar.

(I am not talking about sentences in which the sequence of words what a job occurs but does not form a grammatical unit, Such as "What a job like this needs is time.")

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