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If you are working as an employee at an organization, when you tell about it to others which usage would be more appropriate?

  1. I work for company.
  2. I work at company.

Or are both usages correct?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Both usages are correct, and they mean the same thing.

The only minor wrinkle is that at can be used to refer to a physical location as well as a company itself:

I work at Microsoft.

I work at the Microsoft Redmond campus.

Whereas for cannot be used this way:

I work for Microsoft.

*I work for the Microsoft Redmond campus.

The last sentence would somehow indicate that you are employed by the campus itself, which probably isn't what you mean.

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Regarding the "location" distinction, if you worked in a local branch of a nationwide chain, for example, you might complain about being asked to do something that primarily benefits the national Head Office by saying "I don't work for them! I work for the MyTown Branch Office!". –  FumbleFingers Jul 30 '11 at 14:34
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"I work for Xyzzy Consulting Corp. I currently work at Foo Industries." –  Monica Cellio Jul 31 '11 at 2:44
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You work for a company at a location.

I work for Comcast.
I work at the Comcast building.

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"I work at Microsoft." Isn't that slang? –  Lee Quarella Jul 30 '11 at 13:48
    
I don't think "at" is exactly slang. But it's more likely to be "local" usage, in that oftetimes you might say "I work at Comcast" in an area where everyone knows of that company's local office because they're a major employer wherever you're speaking. In which case it's a moot point whether you intended (or the hearer understood) the referent to be the company itself, or their nearby premises. –  FumbleFingers Jul 30 '11 at 14:40
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