The workplace

Posted by on February 15th, 2019 | 0 comments | articles, countable uncountable, definite article, IELTS, speaking, vocabulary, writing

Modern technology is becoming more common both at home and in workplaces.

the workplace (uncountable!)

When you use the workplace (uncountable) you’re talking about the abstract idea of the workplace as a feature of people’s lives along with school and the home. In addition, you’re usually talking about one or more of the following:

  • typical or ideal activities in the places where people work
  • typical or ideal behaviour in the places where people work
  • typical or ideal conditions in the places where people work
  • the role of government and other authorities in the places where people work.

In each case you may also be comparing and contrasting a situation in the workplace (= all workplaces) with a situation either in the home (= all homes) or somewhere else. At least you’re referring to the workplace as one of several important places where most human activity takes place!

  • How is meditation useful in the workplace?
  • (rather than outside the workplace where it is easier to imagine people practicing meditation)
  • The physical conditions of the workplace differ greatly between classes.
  • (we’re not interested in the physical conditions at home)
  • Arts education prepares students for the workplace.
  • (not interested in how arts ed. prepares students to become good parents, for example)
  • Security officers often face great danger in the workplace.
  • (we’re not interested in the dangers they face elsewhere)

workplace (countable)

When you use workplace (countable) you’re usually talking about:

  • a particular place of work – either your own or someone else’s
  • Jim then returned to his permanent workplace.
  • a particular characteristic of some or all workplaces
  • In theory rewarding employers for safe workplaces may make sense.

However, as shown in these examples, when workplace is the main noun, rather than a noun modifier, then most of the time it is expressed as the workplace.


In our opening example our writer is making a claim about conditions in ALL workplaces and comparing this to the same condition at home, and so the workplace would be more appropriate.

  • Modern technology is becoming more common both at home and in the workplace.


My workplace is quite comfortable. It’s air conditioned and I have my own desk. Compared to other workplaces I’d say it’s not a bad place to work. Luckily for us workers, government legislation has led to the introduction of important changes in the workplace, so that workplaces are now inspected regularly to make sure that standards are being maintained.

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