The exercise below is from my English exercise book:

Choose the one word or phrase - a, b, c or d - that best completes the sentence

She is interested in teaching ___ because she loves working with children.

a) semester
b) communication
c) work
d) profession

The given answer by the book is d), but I don't agree with the author's choice. What I found on Google that the phrase "teaching work" is used as frequently as "teaching profession".

If you agree with the author's answer, could you tell me the reason in this context?

  • 2
    Are you sure there is no article before the word teaching? I'd expect to see one if the next word was work or profession. Without the article, I'd simply say: "She is interested in teaching because she loves working with children." Moreover, I think career would be a better word than either work or profession: "She is interested in a teaching career because she loves working with children." Maybe I shouldn't judge a book by one problem, but t'd take the guidance from this book with a grain of salt.
    – J.R.
    Jul 23, 2016 at 9:57
  • 1
    The noun "teaching" itself means "the job or profession of a teacher" and as a noun in a sentence, it requires the article. The "teaching profession/work" collocation sounds sort of tautological. Don't you agree?
    – Victor B.
    Jul 23, 2016 at 10:12
  • @J.R.: Thanks a lot. I know the book's author is not a native English speaker and that's why the sentence may sound odd to you. This is the exercise book in which students have to do answer the questions. I will tell this error to the teacher for his consideration.
    – doquan0
    Jul 23, 2016 at 10:34
  • @J.R.: Would you mind converting your above comment to an answer to this question, so I can consider to accept it as the best answer?
    – doquan0
    Jul 23, 2016 at 10:36
  • @Rompey: Thanks for your comment. I found on Google some sentences like "Where can I find teaching work?" and "What kind of teaching work is available in Australia?". Do we need any article "a/the" before "teaching work"?
    – doquan0
    Jul 23, 2016 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


You are right: c is correct and d is not.

She is interested in teaching work because she loves working with children

work is uncountable, so the sentence is grammatically correct. As others have said, the word work is not strictly necessary, but its usage in this way is common and idiomatic: similar usages include charity work or office work.

profession is countable, so the sentence is not grammatically correct as it stands. An article is required, for example:

She is interested in the teaching profession because she loves working with children

With the article, the sentence is grammatically correct and nobody would complain if somebody said this, but it would be regarded as quite formal.


The teaching profession is the collection of teachers seen as a unified group. So It would be possible to say "She is interested in joining the teaching profession...".

You could even say "She is interested in the teaching profession...", with the word "joining" understood or implied. (It sounds slightly strange, as it suggests interest in teachers, not in teaching.)

You could not say "She is interested in teaching profession". The article "the" is required for idiomatic use.

You could say "She is interested in teaching work", in the same way as you could say "She is interested in building work" or '... legal work...'. The word 'work' doesn't require an article here.

As noted in comments, '... a teaching career...' or just '... interested in teaching...' are simple ways to express the same idea.

  • I agree with you that we need the article 'the' before 'teaching profession'. However, I'm not sure about the definition of the word 'profession'. The Cambridge dictionary also explains it as "any type of work that needs special training or a particular skill". So, how can I know when the word "profession" in my exercise book refers to work or to people?
    – doquan0
    Jul 23, 2016 at 10:50
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    From context (as always). It is slightly clearer if I use "medicine", since the noun and adjective are different. You can say "Medicine is a profession" (a type of work) but "the medical profession" (doctors etc. seen a group). When you say "the .... profession" you mean the latter. Compare with "The building trade" or "the motor trade".
    – James K
    Jul 23, 2016 at 11:50
  • "He left the teaching profession in 1965 to start his own business". That is the example I took from the Cambridge dictionary, under the definition "any type of work that needs special training or a particular skill". Could you explain 'the ... profession' in this case? (Here is the link: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/profession )
    – doquan0
    Jul 23, 2016 at 16:44

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