1. He went to work.
  2. He went to the work.

Is #2 correct as used differently from #1 (Verb vs. noun)?


2 Answers 2


Work is a noun in both sentences.

When saying someone went to the the place they work at, you always say:

X went to work.

When you say,

X went to the work.

I can only think that X went over to a work of art. It would have to be a very specific situation.

  • "went to work" can also mean "started working"; "went to the work" suggests "the work" is a location/physical item.
    – eques
    Jul 12, 2016 at 18:43

Number 1 is ambiguous. To work can be either a prepositional phrase or the to-infinitive. You can use both in one sentence:

He went to work to work.

The first work is a noun (place of employment), the second a verb (to work). You can use in order to instead of to to see that this is a prepositional phrase

He went to work in order to work.

It is usually easy to decide whether to work is a prepositional phrase or the to-infinitive by what follows the two words. But, without more context, each of the following could be read as a noun or verb:

He went to work in Chicago.

He went to work at 9 AM.

One reason this is so is because to go to work can mean both to go to one's place of employment and to get busy (or to start) doing a task. The same ambiguity can be seen in get to work.

I need to get to work

can mean

I need to get to my place of employment


I need to start working (on a task)

As a noun, when we mean the place where we work, we use to work, without the definite article. We also say to school and to home. If you say to the work it means something else, depending on context.

We went to the work

It could be a work of art or some other object.

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