The following prepositional collocations with ,,arbeiten'' are found in such standard Dictionaries as Duden, Oxford-Duden & Langenscheidt.

,,bei einer Firma arbeiten'' ; ,,in einer Firma arbeiten''

,,bei einer Bank arbeiten'' ; ,,für eine Bank arbeiten''

,,beim Fernsehen arbeiten'' ; ,,fürs Fernsehen arbeiten''

I am wondering for each pair what's the difference in meaning.

Besides, when it comes to ,,Fabrik'', only ,,in'' is found with ,,arbeiten'':

,,in einer Fabrik arbeiten'' / ,,in einer Fabrik tätig sein'',

but Neither ,,bei einer Fabrik arbeiten'' Nor ,,bei einer Fabrik tätig sein''

I am wondering whether ,,bei einer Fabrik arbeiten'' is also appropriate or not. And why it is appropriate or inappropriate?

1 Answer 1


The difference is, that your first three examples (Bank, Firma, Fernsehen) are not locations as such, but rather institutions. For instance you would not say: Ich arbeite bei einer/für eine Bankfiliale. (which would be an actual location).

There is a slight difference in meaning between "bei/für/in".

  • Of these "bei" is neutral, just specifying what you do.
  • "für" is emphasizing more the relationship between your work and the institution, i.e. the outcome of your work is "for" the institution. You could also use "für" in cases where your are not actually employed by the institution but are commissioned by the institution to do some work for them.
  • "in" is emphasizing more that you are part of the institution.

"Fabrik" on the other hand is a location (just like Büro). If you want to express that your are working at that location you can only use "in".

The phrase, "bei einer Fabrik arbeiten", is also correct but has a different meaning than you intend. It would mean that your workplace (not necessarily related to the "Fabrik") is located near the "Fabrik".

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