working progress vs. work in progress

Discussion in 'English Only' started by fenixpollo, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    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?
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    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.
  3. stevea 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".
  4. Packard

    Packard 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.
  5. Suspishio

    Suspishio Senior Member

    Berkshire, UK
    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".
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hello Profe Pollo,

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

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Thanks, everybody. You have confirmed my suspicions. :)

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