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‘Working In’ Or ‘Working At?’ Which One Is Correct?

by subhasree nag
Last Updated on: April 1, 2024

It can be pretty challenging knowing where to use which preposition. But it is not very difficult once you get to know the rules that are associated with it. That is when all the confusion gets cleared.

One such confusion has been noticed regarding working in or working at or work in and work at. Let’s try to figure this one out in this article.

Working in or working at – the basic difference  

You might find it confusing where to use working at or working in. Work in or working in is mostly used when we are trying to explain the physical location of your workplace, the department, or the industry. 

Work at is mostly used to refer to the company you work for. It can be used interchangeably with ‘work for’ or ‘work in.’ But  ‘work for’ or ‘work in’ can never be each other’s place.

Working in is used to describe the field of work, and working at is used to specifically mention the place.

Let’s see this in detail.

What does “work at” mean?  

The prepositional phrase “work at” is combined together with the proposition “at” along with the verb “work.” The term shows that the subject is working within a particular workspace or a company. There can be another use of the phrase where it can be used to indicate the improvement of your skill at something.

What does “work at” mean

“Working at” is related to both “working for” and “working in.” this is all because of the preposition ‘at,’ which indicates that something is present within something or means a goal. The preposition ‘at’ can also be used as ‘in’ in certain cases.

For example:

I work in a school, or I work at a school; both are correct. This is when ‘at’ is used to indicate the presence of something within something.

The other definition of ‘at’ is used to define a goal that can be interchanged with another preposition, that is, ‘for.’ both the prepositions share minings and can be used interchangeably, like, “work at” can be used in place of “work for.”

For example:

I work for Google, and I work at Google; both have the same meaning and can be used in place of one another.

From here, we can say that “work at” can be interchanged with “work in” as well as “work for,” but “work for” and “work in” can never be interchanged among one another. In and for has different meanings and have completely different meaning as propositional phrases.

There is another way how “work at” can be used, but the meaning is completely different because the verb work is used in a different sense here. When we are discussing improving at something, there the verb “work” indicates making an effort.

For example:

I am making an effort at making this relationship work.

How to use “work at?”  

As a phrase, the term “work at” modifies the object and follows the subject in a sentence. It can be used with pronouns and nouns. As ‘work’ is the verb, the form changes as the point of view and the tense change.

How to use “work at”

But ‘at’ remains the same in all tenses and points of view. When we are using it to mean getting better at something, then ‘work’ becomes the present participle form that is working. Currently, working at or in? I am working at or in? Let us see some examples.


  • I work at a school.
  • I work at Google.
  • I currently working at the museum.
  • They started working at the deli.
  • They work at the white house.
  • I am working in a school.
  • I work at a bookstore downtown. It’s surrounded by cafes, so it’s a great place to spend a leisurely afternoon. (Describes your workplace)
  • She works at a hospital as a registered nurse. (Identifies someone’s job)
  • The scientists are working at a solution to the climate crisis. (Describes ongoing efforts)
  • We need to work at improving communication within the team. (Highlights effort needed)
  • Don’t worry, the paint will dry completely within a few hours. You can work at removing the masking tape then. (Describes the sequence of a task)
  • The artist works at large canvases, creating stunning abstract pieces. (Describes their artistic style)
  • They work at building trust with their clients, which is key to their success. (Describes a strategy)
  • The magician worked at his illusions for hours before the grand performance. (Describes the preparation involved)
  • The old adage suggests that “slow and steady wins the race.” Work at your goals consistently, and you’ll eventually achieve them. (Offers advice)
  • The couple worked at their relationship through difficult times, ultimately emerging stronger. (Describes effort invested in a relationship)

When we are talking about getting better at a skill or improving something, we can still place “work at” following the subject, but it has to be followed with another verb before the object f the sentence. An adjective or adverb can also be used to denote how the subject is trying to get better at the action.

How to use work in?  

Let’s check this one out with the help of a few examples.

How to use work in
  • I work in the medical field.
  • I work in real estate.
  • Would you like to work in the teaching field?
  • Do you work in that building?
  • Do you work in the IT industry?
  • She works in the marketing department at a tech company. (Defines someone’s job sector)
  • This new software works in all major operating systems. (Describes compatibility)
  • I volunteer in a local animal shelter on weekends. (Specifies the location of volunteer work)
  • This recipe works in just 30 minutes, perfect for a busy weeknight. (Describes how well a method functions)
  • The gears work in perfect harmony to keep the machine running smoothly. (Describes the function of parts in a system)
  • The artist likes to work in bold colors and geometric shapes. (Describes their preferred artistic medium)
  • They’re working in a new strategy to increase customer engagement. (Describes being engaged in developing something)
  • Let’s work in a coffee break after this meeting. (Suggests incorporating something into a plan)
  • The historian works in the field of medieval European politics. (Defines someone’s area of expertise)
  • The key works in the lock with a satisfying click. (Describes the function of an object)

Work at or work for?  

When a person states the name of their employer without disclosing the physical location of the company, both “work for” and “work at” are correct.

Work at or work with

For example:

  • I work at Amazon/I work for amazon.
  • I work at a school/I work for a school.
  • I work at the deli/I work for the deli.
  • I work at the White House/ I work for the White House.
  • I work at the museum/I work for the museum.

Here are some more examples with the phrase “Work with”: 

  • I work with a great team of designers on creative projects. (Collaborate with colleagues)
  • This medication can work with other treatments to improve your health outcomes. (Function in conjunction with something else)
  • She works with at-risk youth, providing them with guidance and support. (Serve or interact with a specific group)
  • We need to work with a tight deadline to complete this project on time. (Operate under time constraints)
  • The software is designed to work with all major file formats. (Be compatible with various systems)
  • The engineer is working with a prototype for a new invention. (Develop or refine something)
  • He works with a lot of patience when dealing with difficult clients. (Demonstrate a specific quality while interacting)
  • Can you work with a slightly lower budget for this project? (Be flexible or adaptable regarding something)
  • They worked with limited resources but still managed to achieve their goals. (Function effectively despite limitations)
  • I work with wood to create intricate sculptures. (Use a specific material in your work)

Work at or work with?  

The main confusion is about working in or working at. But there is also confusion about work at and work with. Working at a place is a lot more definite than working with a company. Work with does not indicate the employment status but “work at” does. When a person says, “I work with Walmart,” that does not mean that you are an employee of Walmart. Whereas “I work at Google” is a statement that clearly indicates that you are an employee at Walmart.

Work at or work with

Both statements do not have any similar meaning, so it is best not to use them for one another.

Here are a few more examples of “work at.”  

  • I work at the Smith house.
  • I worked at that school previously.
  • Monica works at the music school.
  • You will work at the event tomorrow.
  • Josh is working at getting a promotion.
  • I am working at getting the bread softer.
  • I am working at being a better mom.

Here are some examples of sentences using “Work with”

  • He does a lot of work with charities on his free time.
  • I work with my local animal shelter to rescue and foster stray cats and dogs.
  • Rachel is currently working with that company on a freelance basis.
  • Janet and Alex is working with Luke on the same project.

Other Prepositions that go with “Work”

Now that you know when to use “working in” and when to use “working at”, you should also check out the following preposition that can be used with the verb “work”: 

Work as

The phrase “work as” is used when one is talking about their occupation or their job position or title. This phrase is usually used while answering the question “what work do you do?” or “what is your job title?” Here are some examples:

  • Tim has been working as a waiter for the past one year.
  • My friend is working as a part-time receptionist at a dentist’s clinic downtown.
  • I am currently working as an accountant at a big MNC.
  • After graduation, Brian started working as an animation artist.
  • Work on

The phrase “work on” is used when a person is talking about working on a project or task. It is used while answering the question “what are you working on?” Here are some examples:

  • My team has been working on this project for the past 6 months.
  • Alex is working on making a presentation for a client meeting.
  • Sheena is working on completing her school assignment which is due tomorrow.
  • I get bored when I have to work on repetitive tasks.

“Working In” or “Working At” Exercises

By now you must have understood the meaning of the phrase “working in” and “working at” and when to use these phrases. The best way to know whether you have clearly understood a concept or not is to test yourself. So here are some exercises on “Working in” and “Working at” – 

  • Brian’s sister ___ a university as a teacher’s assistant.
  • I ___ the accounting department at my company.
  • She ___ a cafe at weekends for some extra cash.
  • Alex ____ Google for five years and then moved to Microsoft.

Wrapping up!  

Prepositional verbs are a lot similar to propositional phrases. But there is a basic difference in that the preposition comes after the verb, and the object is always followed by a preposition. I hope this article helps in guiding you through the confusion and make this better for understanding and clearing your confusion about working in or working at.


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