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Is it correct to say, "Almost all workload is done by the server computer"? What I wonder about is the almost at the beginning of the sentence, and the usage of done. Is this suitable for a formal letter?

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migrated from english.stackexchange.com Sep 10 '13 at 14:26

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"Workload" is a mass noun. Therefore, you would say, "Almost all of the workload is done on the server." If you wanted to use a count noun, you could say, "Almost all work is done by the server."

However, the phrase fragment "Almost all" is colloquial. For formal speech and writing, try "A majority of the work is done by the server." Further, "is done" is also colloquial. Try, "A majority of the work is performed by the server." In rough numbers "a majority" is anything from 50.1% to 99.9% There is no implied size beyond being the major portion of something. "Almost all" is perhaps less vague, but in professional writing, it sounds like you're avoiding the numbers.

In the first paragraph, I changed "on" to "by." When speaking of computer processing, there are regional uses of "on." Using "by" is less regional and more widely accepted. "I worked on my car" would imply that I repaired my car. If I said, "work was done on my car," I would also be implying "repair." If I said, "my car did all the work," I'm implying that the car's operation is a "work" of some kind. I could rephrase this to "all the work was done by my car." This latter example is similar to the usage in computer operations.

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Thank You! But a question? Why in your first example you used "on" but in second one you used "by"? And another question : isn't "A majority of" less than "Almost all of" ? Thanks! – Ardeshir Izadi Sep 10 '13 at 14:51
Good catch, "on" and "by" are "almost" interchangeable in the case of computer processing. Added clarity to the answer. – mawcsco Sep 10 '13 at 14:59
Thank you for the extras ! But can you explain a bit about the difference between "a mojority of" and "almost all of"? Thanks! – Ardeshir Izadi Sep 10 '13 at 15:05
Added explanation of majority to my answer – mawcsco Sep 10 '13 at 15:10

This sounds okay to me: Almost all of the workload is done on the server.

This sounds much better: The server handles almost all of the workload.

Almost all can probably be replaced by most.

Or even simpler: The server handles most of the workload.

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Thank you !I got what I wanted, but a question? Why did you use "on" in first question? Thanks! – Ardeshir Izadi Sep 10 '13 at 14:30
I can't really find any usage for "workload is done". I think, work is done, workload is handled or carried or whatever you can use with "load". – skymningen Sep 10 '13 at 14:34
@skyminige It is equivalent to saying the processing is done on the server. Processing is not carried. See here for the meaning of load in this context: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Load_%28computing%29 – dcaswell Sep 10 '13 at 14:35
IMO, does is ok, and handles is more specific and has a slightly different meaning. If you handle something, it means that you are assigned to do it. It does not mean that you specifically do anything. In this context, handles is the probable desired meaning. – BobRodes Sep 10 '13 at 14:53
@ArdeshirIzadi: by points to what does the action, on points to where the action is done. As such, both are correct here. – BobRodes Sep 10 '13 at 14:54
  1. The position of almost is grammatical and formal.
  2. The choice of done is not idiomatic. Work is done. But workload is handled.

The rest of the sentence is fine in all registers.

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Do you think that server computer sounds redundant? – dcaswell Sep 10 '13 at 14:53
@user814064 I doubt about that too ! Thank you ! How should I say that ? i mean a coumputer which is server – Ardeshir Izadi Sep 12 '13 at 18:52

You would either say "Almost all work is done (or carried out) by me (a person, not the server)." or "Almost all workload is carried by the server (could also be used for a person)." If the work is already finished, of course use past perfect (has been done).

Edit: I wasn't sure about the usage of "handle" and "carry" a workload after thinking about it further. So I checked Ngram. I'd say it's a par.

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I would say "Almost all of the workload is handled by the server". – CPLB Sep 10 '13 at 14:46
"Carried" is not the right word here. – Steve Melnikoff Sep 10 '13 at 15:06

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