Hello, everyone!

When the word "work" refers to the achievements of a person, should it be "work" or "works'? For example, in the sentence "People are often remembered for their work/works rather than for their character" which alternative is correct? Another example is when the sentence concerns authors and other artists, e.g. "The works/work of Tolkien". Which option is the right one?

Thanks in advance.


In the case of a person's achievements, "works" typically refers to artistic or creative productions, such as books, paintings, musical compositions etc. It can also sometimes refer to a person's charitable activities, or significant activities seen as benefiting the community, especially in a historical context. "work" is less specific, but if we know that a person's "work" consisted of creating "works", then the end meaning may be about the same. You can't use "works" for ordinary mundane "work". For example, you can't say "My father was a dustman; his works were much appreciated by the community".