We're using a textbook called "English for Management Studies" by Tony Corballis and Wayne Jennings at our English classes at university. I'm saying this so that you know that the following sentence should be viewed in managerial context. The sentence is:

Seasonal farm ___ are often employed to help bring in the harvest.

I'm expected to fill in the gap with the correct form of the verb WORD "hand". I Googled it and found out that there is a noun - farmhand - a person who works on a farm. It seems like it fits the context, but I don't see much of a managerial meaning here, that's why I'm asking (e.g., previous sentences were like "Start-up _ (capital) is available in ..." or "The human resources _ (manager) is in charge of ...", etc.). Another reason for doubting is that "farmhand" appears to be one word, while the gap in the sentence implies that there are two words. I would appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

  • I'd say that "the employment of farmhands'," especially used in the passive voice as it is here, fits nicely in the context of what human resource managers might do/be in charge of. (re one word or two: perhaps "farmhand" could be viewed as a "form of the word 'hand'").
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 15:05
  • I agree with your second point; the closed compound 'farmhands' is far more common. Not all textbooks are equally good. Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


You are overthinking this question. The word "hand" itself has the following meaning:

(1): a person employed at manual labor or general tasks 'a ranch hand' (2): worker, employee 'employed over a hundred hands'.


As "hand" is a countable noun, you have to use a plural form "hands". And "farmhand" is not necessarily one orthographic word. You can use it as a "compound noun".


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