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Which preposition is correct in the sentence below?

I want work in/on/at this position.

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Neither is good. Moreover, "work" and "position" are not well suited to be in the same sentence. It's like saying "I want to work standing on my hands with my head down", or "I want to work bent over".

Replace "position" with "role", and you got something:

I want to work in this role.

Replace "work" with "take" or "apply", and you can keep the "position":

I'd like to apply for this position.
I'd like to take this position.

... although it's a stretch (pun intended).

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    There is no need to replace "position" with "role" for this sentence to work. "I'd like to work in this position" is both grammatical and idiomatic English. See Macmillan #5; one definition of position is "a job in a company."
    – J.R.
    Sep 7 '15 at 23:08
  • Yeah, as @J.R. mentions, the use of "work" and "position" is fine. The initial sentence is missing a "to" to be good English: "I want to work in this position."
    – Ryan Haber
    Sep 8 '15 at 15:14
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They can all be considered correct, but it depends on what you want to say.

First of all, these prepositions are very flexible, and they can be used in multiple ways. Don't make the mistakenly assuming that in always means "inside of", or that on always means "atop of". For example:

After we talked on the phone, I decided I should pay in cash.


In your example, the phrases work at, work on, and work in all mean something.

The phrase work at can mean you want to work at a particular place:

I want to work at IBM someday.

It can also be a phrasal verb that means "struggle with something for a long time":

The mathematician continued to work at the proof until she had it solved.

The phrase work in can mean you want to work in a particular field, or in a particular job:

Joey wants to work in finance after he graduates from college.
I'm hoping to get a promotion, so I can work in the Finance Office upstairs.

To work on means to perform a particular task:

The mechanic will work on my car tomorrow. Can I get a ride to work with you?


Now, consider this. You are a new worker in a factory. The manager tells you:

"We have two stations available where we need workers. At this station, you will inspect the widgets as they pass by. But if you work over at that position, you'll turn the widgets over one by one as they get painted. Which job do you want?"

You could answer the manager:

I want to work at this position.

(Note that "I want work" means "I'm hoping to get a job somewhere," where "I want to work" is the more general way of saying it.)

But now, let's say you're a rugby player, and a teammate gets hurt. They ask you to change positions to take over for your injured teammate. After one game, things don't go very well, so your coach says:

"Do you want to go back to your old position?"

You might answer:

No, I want to work on this position.

meaning, you want to try to master the new position, and you're not ready to give up yet.

However, I'm guessing that those aren't the meanings you were going for. Let's say a new position has opened in a company: Chief Widget Engineer. If you are applying for that job, you would probably say:

I want to work in this position.

meaning that you want to be hired into that position.

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