Business English: Work & Works

www.EditEnglish.Asia

Most people who speak English as a second language have trouble with countable and uncountable nouns. Here’s one that frequently comes up in emails:

Let’s say a Chinese-speaking writer is emailing an international client to let that person know the job is done:

Dear Ms. Piraro,

We have performed the works you requested. Please see the attached invoice for an itemized list of the works performed, along with details for payment.

Thanks,

Susan

The problem is that work, used in this sense, is an uncountable noun. No matter how many pieces of work you performed, you still say work (no s). If you want to make work countable, you can use the measure word pieces.

The above email should read as follows:

Dear Ms. Piraro,

We have performed the work you requested. Please see the attached invoice for an itemized list of the work performed, along with details…

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