• A carpenter does carpentry.
  • A scientist does science.
  • An engineer does engineering.
  • A blacksmith does blacksmithing.

(The grammar of these sentences may be poor; the point is to get the idea across.)

So then:

  • What does an electrician do?
  • What does a (car) mechanic do?

Or are there perhaps really no such words?

  • 2
    Not all vocations have a neat correspondence between the names of the practitioner and the practice. – Robusto Dec 17 '13 at 11:24
  • @Robusto ok, but does the vocation even have a name in this case? what are the vocations I'm referring to? – Dave Cousineau Dec 17 '13 at 11:33
  • Blacksmiths smith. So do silversmiths, goldsmiths etc. – Phil M Jones Dec 17 '13 at 14:53
  • An electrician does electrical work, and a mechanic fixes cars. Also, I wouldn't say "a scientist does science," though I might say "a scientist does scientific work." – J.R. Dec 17 '13 at 17:05
  • 1
    That's fine - although your question might read a little better if you change those four instances of "does" to "works in the field of". – J.R. Dec 18 '13 at 18:32

You may consider that an electrician wires

wire : verb to provide (a building, room, etc.) with wires for a particular service or for electricity

and that a mechanic repairs

repair verb 1a : to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken : fix b : to restore to a sound or healthy state : renew

from m-w.com

| improve this answer | |
  • The "repair" is pretty generic, I know. – Jack Ryan Dec 17 '13 at 14:34
  • 2
    It sounds like "automobile maintenance/repair" is a good fit for the mechanic. I'm not sure if "wire" is quite adequate for electrician, though, since they do more than that, as far as I know. It feels like there needs to be a word like "electricianism", but I guess none exists. – Dave Cousineau Dec 18 '13 at 17:36

It's by no means a 'single word', but many automobile mechanics would say that they do "Auto Repair". Though this of course only refers to the reparations of a vehicle, not the construction of one or the upgrading of one that is not broken.

For the act of working on a vehicle, there is "tuning up", or "bodywork" if you want to refer to only the outer 'body' of the car.

Or you could modify the two, since both individuals are engineers.

You could try 'automotive engineering' or 'electrical engineering', but both of these phrases specifically refer to automotive engineers and electrical engineers, rather than mechanics and electricians, so to avoid confusion, this is only advised if the person's role is already well established by context.

| improve this answer | |
  • There is a big difference between what electricians do, and what electrical engineers do. Those are two different careers with distinctly different qualifications. – J.R. Dec 17 '13 at 19:05
  • @J.R. I was not aware of the difference. My answer has been corrected. – Zibbobz Dec 17 '13 at 19:12
  • That's an improvement, but I think the same is true in the automobile industry. The automotive engineer is designing next year's models. The mechanic is fixing the models from prior years. – J.R. Dec 17 '13 at 19:18
  • @J.R. you know, that might be the root of the problem here. The listed individuals who perform "X" are all individuals who produce new products, whereas the two being asked about are repairmen working on products already in place. – Zibbobz Dec 17 '13 at 20:09
  • 2
    Interesting thought, but... a researcher performs research, a surgeon performs surgery, a doctor practices medicine. A cosmetologist practices cosmetology, but a barber cuts hair. A coach coaches, a judge judges, a runner runs, but do coopers coop, or plumbers plumb? Electricians can lay the wire in a new building, or fix the wiring in an old building, the same way carpenters could be called in to build, repair, or renovate. I think it has more to do with etymology (where did the word come from?) than what the career demands. – J.R. Dec 17 '13 at 20:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.