"work construction" 'do construction work'

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Dec 31 00:34:51 UTC 2008

On Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 7:01 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> heard this in a tv ad, though it was certainly familiar -- and there
> are very large numbers of relevant hits for "work/works/worked/working
> construction".  not in the OED,  so far as i can tell.
> there are plenty of instances of "do N work" (N = volunteer,
> missionary, upholstery, kitchen, plumbing, charity, voiceover,
> inpatient, ...).  but none in the "work N" pattern with the
> appropriate meaning, it seems.  so, a very specific idiom.

There's also "work retail". Plenty of Googlehits for "I worked retail" and the

"Work construction/retail" strikes me as elliptical for "work *in*

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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