What does the ever-popular #wip stand for? Or maybe I should ask, what does it stand for to you?
This is a tricky answer, because it depends on when in the past two hundred years you’re curious about, which side of the Atlantic you’re on, or if you’re in the manufacturing or finance industries.
Yes, these responses matter.
The good news is that whichever “WIP” you believe to be correct, you can get away with it. Both are commonly used in the present day and largely acceptable when talking about a project that is on its way toward completion.
- “Works in progress” came first, has always been the preferred phrase in British English, and is considered the standard form, no matter where you might be across the globe today.
- “Works in process” had a popularity surge between 1915 and 1960 according to Google’s Ngram Viewer, but it was apparently a short lived American fad.
Notice the plural spelling with “works” gaining the additional “s” not “progress,” and notice that no hyphens are necessary between these three words.
It’s true that in some production industries, both “works in progress” and “works in process” seem to be popular phrases, and they seem to imply different meanings. It comes down to the duration of the production cycle, according to Investopedia, but I don’t think the average person really needs to think about this nitty-gritty understanding.
When you look in the mirror, maybe you think you’re a work in progress, and you know what? I think we always should be. We should continue to explore the world around us, attempting new artistic expressions and innovative solutions, empathizing with the many people around us, and diving in to our works whatever they might be. Our command of the English language is simply one of these pursuits.
I’m honored to be a small part of your continued education.
Good luck with all of your WIPs, everyone.
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