I just came across a situation that I had to express my feeling, for instance when you do ironing and when it's done what exactly you can say? I myself usually say:

Phew, what a tough job

I was wondering what exactly should I say in such a situation, because as you know job as its literal meaning conveys different meaning.

What else I can say when I want to express my idea about something which is hard to do?


1 Answer 1


I'm not sure what you think the "literal" meaning of "job" is.

See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/job

(Skip the references to the proper name Job.)

Definition 1 is regular work done in exchange for payment, like, "His job is working in a widget factory."

Definitions 2 and 3 both refer to specific tasks that a person might undertake, as in, "After I do the laundry, my next job is washing the dishes."

Your example falls under definition 2. Perhaps you are thinking that the "literal" meaning is definition 1? But definition 1 is no more literal than definition 2.

There are contexts where it might be ambiguous. Like if someone began a conversation by saying, "My job is washing dishes", it wouldn't necessarily be clear whether he meant that he is employed by, say, a restaurant as a dishwasher, or if he means that at home he washes the dishes while his wife performs some other household chore. In such a case, you could use a different word, like "occupation" or "profession" versus "task" or "assignment". Or use additional words to make it clear. "My job at home ..." versus "I am employed by ... to ...".

  • Do you natives say the same thing when according to the example I took? Apr 27, 2016 at 19:58
  • Yes, all the time. It's very common to refer to some household task -- washing the dishes or changing the car's oil or whatever -- as a "job". "Fixing the dishwasher turned out to be a tough job." "My wife gave me a list of jobs she wants me to do around the house." Etc.
    – Jay
    Apr 27, 2016 at 20:01
  • what about other things which don't pertain to household affairs? Apr 27, 2016 at 20:08
  • It's common in technical "occupations" (or jobs) to say that someone has done a job or has a job. For instance, say that I am am man who fixes houses. I may say that I have a job to do, that is, a house to fix. Job can also refer to where a man gets his money, but it essentially the same there - something that needs to be done. Apr 27, 2016 at 23:44
  • 1
    Another example where it is used in the sense of a task: when you kid comes home with straight A's, a typical response would be "good job!" Apr 28, 2016 at 3:26

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