once again I have the same problem, I'm looking for a word in the dictionary and I find there more words that seem to have the same meaning but are used in different contexts, that's one of the many complexities of english language :-(( Anyway, I need to choose among : "stage, phase or step" for this sentence:

"Dear, sorry but we can not do any more changes in the stand design at this phase/stage/step of the works" ?

I also doubt word"works" as well but I could not find a better word. Just to explain the situatation by "works" I mean that some of the stand frames have already been fabricated therefore we can not make any changes in the stand design.

Thank you for any feedback

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I would just say "...at this stage(of production/fabrication)."

I bet there are ways of using phase and step for your end but I am drawing a blank at this moment.
Hi Holyduke!

thanks for replying!

Please can you say if I can omit (of production /fabrication) ? Would it be enough to say "at this stange we can not do ...."

Also please explain what does it mean :"I am drawing a blank"


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To be polite to your customers, you shouldn't say "At this stage, we cannot do..."

You should rephrase it, "At this stage, we can no longer change/alter/modify the design without incurring additional cost and delays in schedule...."

I'm drawing a blank - my mind cannot come up with anything, therefore, a blank. (draw - to take out, to come up with)
Thanks - you are really of help!

I learnt something new "to draw a blank" :-) if I understood it right, in that context means that other examples or words do not come to your mind . Am I right?


I can see where your confusion lies. This is how I see it.

If something is being designed, researched or developed, we can either use phrases/ stages.

When something is being manufactured, typically the term, "stage" is used. And you also will hear people use "cycle" in the manufact. environment.
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Great. Thank you! You have been of help!

When I speak about something being fabricated or designed, I can say: "at this phase\stage\cycle of the works"? Please confirm it I understood it right.


I have been in the IC manufacturing industry over 20 years. This is my understanding.

From a customer's persepctives, there are mainly 3 criteria they want from their suppliers: quality, low price and fast cycle time. The last criterian means how fast they can get the products from the date of order. In manufacturing, a new product requires many stages of protoyping, testing and characterizing, and qualifying before it goes into production. If the customer calls you up and wants to know how soon you can deliver the goods, you may tell him " the product is in its final phase of qualifying" and will go to the production. We will go into the production stage / phase in a couple of days.

When something needs to be remodled, reworked, tweaked, adjusted, or tested, we can think of these processes as phases. So of the blue steps above is a stage by itself. Within each steps there are phases. We often hear the term "going through the phases", that infers an expected process of changes.

When all the bugs and design flaws have been worked out, the product is ready to go into full production mode which can be thought of one phase / stage.

I hope my experience can help you and not confuse you.
Pamela81"Dear, sorry but we can not do any more changes in the stand design at this phase/stage/step of the works"
I hope you use the person's name after "Dear". Otherwise, it gets dangerously close to being a love letter!

Here are some ways of stating your point.

Dear XXXX,

I'm sorry, but we cannot [incorporate / accommodate] further changes in the stand design at this stage in the fabrication.


By the way,

You could use the singular "work" if you wanted to. ... at this stage of the work.

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