Работать/поработать (часть четвёртая)

by Don  

Since работать/поработать means “to work,” you will want to be able to use it to say that so-and-so works for so-and-so. Beginning students of Russian often use the word для as the most generic word for “for,” (not the best idea, incidentally), so one might be tempted to translate “I work for Honeywell” as «Я работаю для фирмы “Хоневелл”». Nope, that would be error. When you want to express the idea that you work full time for an organization, the prepositions you want are в and на followed by the prepositional case. (Follow the general guideliness for selecting на.)

Я раньше работал в французской фирме «Airbus», а теперь я работаю в компании «МакДоналдс».¹ I used to work for the French firm “Airbus,” but now I work for McDonald's.
Моя мама раньше работала в Московском государственном университете. My mother used to work at Moscow State University.
Мой друг работает в «Правде». My friend works at “Pravda.”
Через месяц мой брат будет работать на телевизионном заводе. My brother works at a TV factory.
Моя сестра хочет работать на мясном комбинате. My sister wants to work at a meat packing plant.
Я работаю в АНТК «Туполев». I work for the Tupolev Design Bureau

Now here is a subtlety. If you work for a company or organization part time, then you work на followed by the accusative case:

Летом я работал на «Известия». I worked part-time for Izvestiya over the summer.
Как это стыдно! Раньше у меня была нормальная работа, но теперь работаю на отца. Oh, this is shameful. I used to have a real job, but now I'm working part-time for my dad.
Палестинский шпион работал на Израиль в Ливане. (source) A Palestinian spy worked for Israel in Lebanon.
На кого работал Алексей Френкель?. (source) Who did Aleksei Frankel work for?

¹ Фирма is normally a на word. Why the heck the Russians say в in this context is a mystery to me.

1 comment

Comment from: Shady_arc [Visitor]

“в французской” would actually be “во французской". This в/во variation exists to aid pronunciation. If you try to read “в французской” out loud, it will become obvious that the consonant cluster is quite tough.

“ВО” is mostly used to precede words starting with a certain consonant cluster. It is “В/Ф + some consonant” (во власти, во Флоренции, во введении / в рамке, в физике, в воде, в луже, в стене). The preposition is also used with certain words, as in combinations “во мне", “во тьме", “во дворе", “во дворце", “во льду", “во благо", “во сне", “во рту", “во многом” and others.

I cannot see any rule for the latter use. Probably, those combinations are only justified by their traditional use. At least, the words in the list seem to be used quite a lot over the centuries, and the combinations of the consonants with this preposition don’t seem consistent. For example, with “во рту” and “во сне” one would expect the same for “ртуть” and “снег", but in fact they are used with В: “в ртути", “в снегу".

05/19/10 @ 08:40

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