working progress vs. work in progress


American English
When I am in the middle of a project, and I want to emphasize the ongoing nature of it and the fact that it is not finished, I say that it is a work in progress.

In the exact same context, an Australian acquaintance described a project as a working progress. I have never heard it said this way, and it sounds wrong to me.

However, I realize that there are regional and generational variations in language, as well as pronunciation factors; so I wanted to confirm with the braintrust here at WR (that means you) that this is a valid expression.

Is your ongoing project a working progress or is it a work in progress?
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Oh it's definitely a work in progress for me, Fenix. I suspect working progress is just a linguistic 'tic', an error the chap isn't aware he makes.


    Senior Member
    UK English
    I've never heard of "working progress". This sounds to me as if the user has got it wrong rather like "would of" instead of "would have".


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Working progress" is probably an error the creeped in from a spoken source.

    Working progress and work in progress would sound nearly identical as spoken.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "I haven't made much working progress this week" is a common use of "working progress".

    With a wry smile, I have to agree with stevea on "!work in progress". Why a smile? See the thread on "Across the piste".


    Senior Member
    Hello Profe Pollo,

    Sounds like idiom creep to me. Might your colleague have a manufacturing background, and be confused about work in process [inventory]?


    New Member
    English - Australia
    I know I'm 10 years late to this party, but I'd just like to confirm it's as much an idiom as "Bone Apple Tea".
    I'm Australian & the correct phrase is "work in progress". My American friend just posted a Facebook story of a portrait she is currently drawing, hashtagging "workingprogress" & it made my brain hurt.
    Never justify bad grammar by saying it's a language variation. Because it is not.


    Thank you very much, everybody.
    Your comments and instructions have been extremely helpful to me.
    I could finally correct a long-standing grammar mistake which I was carrying on since ages.
    Warmest regards from Italy.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.

    You also have to allow for overlooked auto-complete/correct errors these days. My phone happily changes the sentence "I could be wrong" into "I could've wrong". (Like it just did.)