My client said me

Great works so far.

What does it mean? Is he appreciating me or hating my job?

  • It means the works you have been doing up to now are very good. In other words, (s)he is satisfied with your works. – user24743 May 9 '16 at 7:37
  • 6
    I'd not prefer a plural word there! In such context, 'work' is uncountable. – Maulik V May 9 '16 at 7:59

If your client is American, he or she probably said great work so far - with work singular.** Is it possible you misheard?

With this expression, your client is saying:

  • Up to this point, everything you have produced is well-received - he or she likes your progress on the project. Great work means basically the same thing as great job.

  • Your client is at the same time being clear that you haven't finished. Depending on the status of your project, this may be totally obvious, in which case the client is just acknowledging that there is more to be done, with no implication that you aren't aware of that fact. It could also be the case that the client is gently reminding you of additional work items that need to be completed.

** The question you didn't ask was the difference between work and works.

In the U.S. we use works very sparingly, and when we do it refers to the outcomes of effort, rather than the effort itself. While the effort (work) is considered uncountable, the product of work is countable: Melville's longest work was the whaling novel, "Moby Dick." Shakespeare's greatest works were his sonnets. The Taj Mahal is one of the finest architectural works of the ancient world.

I love throwing in musical references, so here's one for works:

Youtube link: Louvin Brothers, Great Atomic Power

Well have you heard this man's invention that they call atomic power?

We're all in great confusion, do we know the time or hour?

A terrible explosion will ring down upon our land

Bringing horror and destruction, blotting out the works of man


In literal English the meaning of "Great works so far" is that you have been doing your work nicely. A person says such sentence when he thinks that the work is tough in nature and is impressed.

The tone in which the phrase is spoken can change the meaning, however. This might be used in cases where someone is repetitively making unexpected mistakes. In such case the same phrase is used to express sarcasm.

Now to determine if it is sarcastic or plain English, you can look back the series of events occurred in near past.

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