When someone tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him 'whose?' - Don Marquis, American writer (1878 - 1937)
Work it out
The verb 'to work' has different meanings when it is used with the prepositions at/out/off/up. What do these phrases mean?
1 to work at (something)
a. to try hard to achieve something
b. to stop doing something you've been doing for awhile
2 to work (something) out
a. to refuse to tell somebody a secret
b. to find the solution to something by thinking about it carefully
3 to work (something) off
a. to get rid of something by doing something energetic
b. to stop speaking to someone you have known a long time
4 to work (somebody) up
a. to praise someone for something they have done
b. to make someone feel very angry or upset
5 to work (somebody) out
a. to give someone the benefit of the doubt
b. to understand the reasons behind someone's behaviour
Choose the correct preposition to complete these sentences.
1 You need to work more (off / at) your maths and history next term.
2 There will be a full inquiry to work (at / out) what caused the bus crash.
3 I need to work (out / off) a few pounds after eating all those mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
4 Try not to work yourself (up / out) about your driving test.
5 You should do something you enjoy and work (up / off) all that anger.
6 Why are you behaving like this? I can't work you (off / out) at all.
You need a work permit
What do these nouns mean?
1 a work permit
a. written permission from the authorities to be allowed to work
b. the leave you receive from your company when you are sick
2 a work surface
a. a flat area on which you do some sort of manual work
b. the period of time you work during a day
3 thirsty work
a. difficult manual labour that makes you want to drink lots of liquid
b. to undertake an exciting task
4 a work ethic
a. a belief that hard work pays off
b. a fear of working with other people
5 work experience
a. the first job you ever have
b. a period of time that someone, especially a young person or student, spends working somewhere to get experience of a particular type of job
Choose a noun from the above exercise to complete these sentences
1 Next month, I'll be getting a fortnight's .......... at a bank in Central.
2 I always make a mess on the kitchen ............ whenever I bake a cake.
3 Gardening is ......... in this hot weather, but I enjoy it.
4 We should promote him. He's got an excellent ...........
5 You'll need a ............. to get a temporary job while you're in London.
Working my fingers to the bone
Match up each useful verb phrase to its meaning (there are more answers than you need)
1 to work your fingers to the bone
2 to work like a dog
3 to do all the donkey work
4 to do somebody's dirty work
5 to make short work of something
a. to do the hard and boring part of a particular job
b. to refuse to do something your parents ask you to do
c. to work extremely hard for a very long time
d. to do the unpleasant tasks that someone else does not like doing
e. to do something very quickly and easily
f. to work very hard
Work it out: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. b, 5. b
Which preposition? 1. at, 2. out, 3. off, 4. up, 5. off, 6. out
You need a work permit: 1. a, 2. a, 3. a, 4. a, 5. b
Work experience: 1. work experience, 2. work surface, 3. thirsty work, 4. work ethic, 5. work permit
Working my fingers to the bone: 1. c, 2. f, 3. a, 4. d, 5. e