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What is the difference between expressions start work and start working?

Which one should I use in the following sentences:

  • I usually start work[ing] at 9PM.
  • I want to start work[ing] as soon as possible. [start a new job or business]
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    "Start work" is the idiomatic expression (at least in AmE) for showing up at your place of employment. You may or may not do anything once you arrive. "Start working" means initiating some endeavor. Thus: "I start work at 9A, but I don't really starting working until 9:30." – deadrat Oct 20 '15 at 20:49
  • @deadrat, thank you for your reply! You meant "... but I don't really start working..."? The latter of my sentences is about starting a new job. I edited the question. – Konstantin Oct 20 '15 at 20:54
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    K-- Yes, I did. Thanks for the correction. My feeling is that for a job, the more natural choice is "start work." A new hire would respond to a question about a start date at the company with "I'd like to start work as soon as possible." A building contractor would make the same choice when talking to a homeowner about a project. A general activity would take "starting"+on: "Cleaning out the basement will be a chore. I need to start working on it soon." I doubt I could document that as a general rule, and remember I speak the American kind of English. – deadrat Oct 20 '15 at 22:33
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"Start work" is the idiomatic expression (at least in AmE) for showing up at your place of employment. You may or may not do anything once you arrive. "Start working" means initiating some endeavor. Thus: "I start work at 9A, but I don't really start working until 9:30." – deadrat

My feeling is that for a job, the more natural choice is "start work." A new hire would respond to a question about a start date at the company with "I'd like to start work as soon as possible." A building contractor would make the same choice when talking to a homeowner about a project. A general activity would take "starting"+on: "Cleaning out the basement will be a chore. I need to start working on it soon." I doubt I could document that as a general rule, and remember I speak the American kind of English. – deadrat

  • The British English usage is identical in my opinion. How often can we say that? – BoldBen Sep 23 '16 at 17:56

protected by tchrist Jul 18 '17 at 13:42

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