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I know we can say, "Call it a day" at the end of a day. Can I say, "Call it a project" meaning successful completed project?

  • Perhaps "Call it there" or "call it at that'? – Eric Apr 27 '16 at 4:13
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    Call it a day does not necessarily mean it was a successful day. I would say it is more likely to be inferring the contrary. Imagine your team on working on some complex proposal late into the night and everyone is tired. you might say call it a day so you can all go home and start fresh tomorrow – Matt Wilko Apr 27 '16 at 14:36
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    "Slap a ribbon on it and call it good" – barrycarter Apr 28 '16 at 2:23
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    As a software developer: "Ship it" – gla3dr Apr 28 '16 at 15:36
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You could say that, and in context it would probably make sense to those involved, but it isn't exactly a common idiom.

Maybe you'd prefer "That's a wrap!"

Edit for more details:

If I was working with someone on a group project and they said "Let's call it a project!" I would understand it as "We are finished working on this, it is as finished as it is going to get" or "good enough" (Similar to "Let's call it a day", although if you call it a day you are saying you are done working that day, and presumably will come back the next day to do more)

"That's a wrap" has the same general feel of you are finished working on it, although "That's a wrap" doesn't have the same "good enough" implication. It is more like "this is a good finished project". As a commenter pointed out, this has come from the film industry when they would finish shooting.

Both "that's a wrap" and "call it a day/project" are very casual sounding, so I would say them to partners, but not to superiors or in formal writing.

In response to some of the comments, here are some other options:

"I think we have ourselves a project!" - expresses completeness and excitement

"Let's stick a fork in it and call it done." - Another "good enough" sentiment

"Ship it!" - Could be either "good enough to sell" or actually complete/finished, depending on context.

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    Note that "That's a wrap" is specific to the film industry and has since made its way to other contexts... but may not be totally accepted. – Catija Apr 25 '16 at 19:17
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    If I heard "Let's call it a project!" I would think that implies there is more work to do. I'm in IT/Software Development though, and I use Visual Studio that has the concept of a "Project" for keeping code for an application organized. – Zack Apr 25 '16 at 21:18
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    There are many informal, colloquial expressions one could use, such as, "Let's stick a fork in it and call it done." (I believe the origin of this is from cooking, where you don't actually know the food is "done" until you have tested it with the fork, so the colloquial expression is a bit illogical.) As this answer hints, however, any such quaint or colloquial expression might sound as if you're not serious about your work. – David K Apr 26 '16 at 16:29
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    You should be harsher on "call it a project." It really sounds quite weird. Just because you can sort of work out what the speaker meant doesn't mean it's something an ELL would want to say. – djechlin Apr 26 '16 at 21:31
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    I'd personally say "I think we have ourselves a project!" to indicate excitement that the project has just completed. – Matt Apr 27 '16 at 20:08
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"Call it a day" does not mean "successful completed day"... it means "it's time to leave, let's stop for the night".

There's no implication that the day was particularly fruitful... in fact, it's often used in cases where the day wasn't particularly successful.

You've been hitting your head against that wall for the last 10 hours and staying here isn't going to make it any better. Call it a day, go home, and come back fresh tomorrow.

So there would be no equivalency between "this project is now successfully completed" and "call it a project" because there is none in the "call it a day" idiom to start with.

If anything, you risk it sounding like you're saying the project outcome is mediocre rather than completely successful:

Well, this is the best we can do with this project, so let's call it done and ship it out.

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    I share your view. When I used "Let's call it a day", I remember I was very tired and it was almost midnight. It could be closer to "Let's stop working today and continue to work on it tomorrow." – user24743 Apr 25 '16 at 19:51
  • @MarkPattison Thanks for the vote of confidence :D Either way, it earned me a gold badge, so I'm happy. – Catija Apr 26 '16 at 21:10
  • As I commented on the other post, I've heard "ship it" before as an even shorter form (skipping the "let's call it done"); I don't know how common this is though. – neocpp Apr 26 '16 at 21:17
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    "Let's call it a day" has been used in my experience to mean the day is over(complete), whether successful or not. I think using project, while not common usage, in the right circumstances and with the right audience, would make perfect sense that the project is complete(over). Success doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it, just completion. – GRW Apr 26 '16 at 21:35
  • @GRW Sure... but why would you use a phrase that A - is non-standard and B - would potentially be the opposite of what you actually are trying to say? Particularly as a non-native speaker, this is not a good practice to follow. – Catija Apr 26 '16 at 21:39
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No, the idiomatic phrase call it a day is never modified in that way. We do have some variations, including call it a night, but they typically refer to the time period when work was being done and not the thing being worked on.

Call it a project may or may not be understandable to native speakers depending on the precise context, but it will almost certainly sound awkward. We do sometimes play on idioms by replacing one or two words like this (often for humorous effect, sometimes intentionally being ungrammatical), but that can be hard even for native speakers to pull off successfully.

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    If a native speaker said, "Let's call it a project," I might assume they were using deliberately quirky language. – J.R. Apr 26 '16 at 1:15
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"That's a project" is often used in the sense of something being a big undertaking. With that context, using "Call it a project" may give a sense of work lying ahead rather than work being wrapped up/temporary halted as implied by "Call it a day."

2

Can I say "Call it a project" meaning successful completed project?

You can say it, but to be better understood by a native English speaker you might instead say,

"We have successfully completed the project!"

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    First is is not what the OP was trying to get across...Second would be very odd to say out loud, would come off as wooden and robotic if literally said out loud. – neuronet Apr 27 '16 at 2:34
  • @neuronet - You are correct. I was thinking in terms of what one might say on a resume. I have edited my answer accordingly. Thank you for your helpful comment. With kind regards, – Mark Hubbard Apr 27 '16 at 13:43
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As other answers have pointed out, "Call it a day," implies some measure of cutting your losses, or maybe a tactical decision to get some rest and get back to work tomorrow.

If that's the feeling you're going for with, "Call it a project," may I suggest:

"Ship it!"

It's often used in software or product development to mean, "This is as good as it's going to get without significant extra effort. We can't justify the additional cost (time, money, manpower), it's good enough"

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I've never heard anyone say that - maybe I'm just lucky. It just sounds like contrived business-speak to me: poor use of language. Why not just say "well done everyone, that's a successfully completed project"?

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To me, "Call it a project" would mean, "You know, this isn't just messing around any more. This has gotten big, and serious: let's call it a project!"

If we'd finally gotten something (mostly) done, I'd say "Let's call it done" or "That's a wrap".

If you just said "call it a project" out of the blue, I think I'd be confused; I'd have to think about it a bit before I'd start to figure out you might be inventing a variation on "call it a day".

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