Collocations With The Word Work

Collocations are words that usually go together in English.

Here we are going to look at words that go with the word 'work' to make useful and popular expressions you will hear in social and professional contexts.

Work something out 

When you 'work something out,' you resolve, understand, or discover something through reasoning or calculation. It should not be confused with the noun 'workout,' which refers to an exercise session.


  • We need to work out what the final cost of the project will be before committing to it.
  • Anna and Patrick have had their differences lately, by they are working them out.
  • Why didn't Steven take that promotion? I just can't work it out.

Work up to

To 'work up to' something means to gradually prepare yourself to do something difficult.


  • You don't just get off your couch one day and run a marathon. You work up to it by jogging gradually increasing distances every week.
  • I'm really nervous about asking my boss for a raise. It's something I've been working up to doing all day!
  • When Lisa got up to speak in the meeting, she didn't just get straight to the point. Instead, she worked up to it slowly.

Work towards something

When you 'work towards something,' you do things that help you progress toward a particular goal or achievement.


  • The government assured the public that they intend to work towards a long-term solution to the continuing housing crisis.
  • Rebecca has spent the past four years working towards a PhD in engineering.
  • James wasn't just handed a promotion. It was something he worked towards.

Work on something/somebody

If you 'work on something,' you spend time producing, improving, or trying to achieve something. If, on the other hand, you 'work on somebody,' you spend time trying to influence or persuade somebody to do something.


  • The report will be ready by the end of the day. I'm working on it now.
  • I really need to work on my French before I move to Paris next month.
  • Kevin worked on Peter for days, and eventually persuaded him to cover his shift this Friday.

Working relationship

A 'working relationship' refers to the way in which people or groups within a professional environment interact with each other.


  • In order to improve communication, we need to work on building a better working relationship between the heads of the various departments.
  • Our charity has a close working relationship with other similar organizations throughout the country.
  • Karl has a good working relationship with his boss. There is a mutual level of trust and respect between them.

Related Links