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Is the usage of "a work" correct here? My supervisor, who is not an English teacher, advised me to use "a task" instead.

Usually, though, I would not mind either way. Does somebody have another opinion?

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You almost certainly mean task. Simple! –  Joe Blow Jul 6 '11 at 21:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Both are grammatically correct.

However, in my experience, a work is generally used to describe a piece of art.

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Indeed. "Work" is countable only in special senses (such as works of art). –  Colin Fine May 18 '11 at 12:57
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You could say, "a piece of work" rather than "a work". –  Steve Melnikoff May 18 '11 at 13:16
    
Or just "time needed to complete work," that what I would likely expect/use; see also business-y constructions like "statement of work," [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statement_of_work ] etc. –  Joseph Weissman Jul 6 '11 at 20:17

It depends on what you’re trying to say, but it’s probably not correct.

First the more common situation: if you are (for instance) a student doing essays, or a mechanic working on cars, then the phrase you gave would not be correct. Instead, you could say something like

time needed to complete work

or

time needed to complete a task

or …this work, …the work, …my work, etc., depending on context. You can have one task but you can't have one 'work' (that sounds really wrong like 'one water').

A less common (but perfectly OK usage), 'work' as a count noun is typically only used for works of art. So if you are an artist explaining how long it takes you to finish a painting, then yes, you could talk about time needed to complete a work.

But that phrase standing alone without context sounds wrong.

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