work on

German translation: s.u.

12:57 Apr 7, 2005
English to German translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
English term or phrase: work on
Is there any relevant differece between the phrases "to work on a computer"/"to work at a computer"?
sdomingo
Local time: 08:59
German translation:s.u.
Explanation:
There is a difference. Two examples:
I'm working on a computer - I'm not working with paper and pen.
I work at a computer all day - My neck is stiff.
I think "work on" would be OK as well in the second example.
I'm not convinced that "work at" would be OK in the first example.
So there is a very marginal difference.
Loath to give a translation without proper context but...
Ich arbeite jetzt nicht mehr so viel am Telefon, sondern erledige den Job "mit" dem Computer.
Ich habe den ganzen Tag "am" Rechner gearbeitet und jetzt tut mir mein Handgelenk weh.
Selected response from:

Sarah Swift
Local time: 08:59
Grading comment
That was my first idea. Thanks a lot!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +4s.u.
Sarah Swift
4see under
Linda Flebus


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
see under


Explanation:
work on it vs work at it

Both can be used. But the use of ‘work at it’ often has a sense of advice with it. For example,

To get what you want, you have to work at it.

You need to work at it. It does not just happen.

You must have a project going, and work at it.

Let us work at it over the weekend.

To ‘work on it’, on the other hand, doesn’t have this sense of advice with it. For example,

They have to carry the stuff two hundred miles to work on it.

I have to work on it over the Christmas week.

I’ll continue to work on it.

He had to find a mechanic who could work on it.



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Note added at 10 mins (2005-04-07 13:07:19 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

German translation would be : an etwas arbeiten, etwas bearbeiten


    Reference: http://www.nus.edu.sg/prose/vocab.htm
Linda Flebus
Belgium
Local time: 08:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FlemishFlemish, Native in DutchDutch
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24 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
s.u.


Explanation:
There is a difference. Two examples:
I'm working on a computer - I'm not working with paper and pen.
I work at a computer all day - My neck is stiff.
I think "work on" would be OK as well in the second example.
I'm not convinced that "work at" would be OK in the first example.
So there is a very marginal difference.
Loath to give a translation without proper context but...
Ich arbeite jetzt nicht mehr so viel am Telefon, sondern erledige den Job "mit" dem Computer.
Ich habe den ganzen Tag "am" Rechner gearbeitet und jetzt tut mir mein Handgelenk weh.


Sarah Swift
Local time: 08:59
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
That was my first idea. Thanks a lot!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ian M-H (X): also, working *on* a computer is what I have to do when it stops working - i.e. working on something in the sense of repairing it
22 mins

agree  Michael Schubert: Well put! Also agree with Ian's added note -- was my first thought as well.
3 hrs

agree  Andrea Pate-Cazal
6 hrs

agree  Francis Lee (X): with Ian/Michael
18 hrs
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