a good set of hands

jasonlulu_2000

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Sources: school exam papers

When I helped my nephew put some things in his truck at the end of our family Mother’s Day gathering, I noticed his tool box. My dad had a tool box. Whether he was laying down a roof for some extra cash after working a tour on the New York City Police Department or telling us to go weed the front yard, my dad put great value on work that could be performed by either tools in a toolbox, a bit of ingenuity, or a good set of hands, the more callous the better.

What does "a good set of hands" mean?

Thanks!

Jason
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Sources: school exam papers

When I helped my nephew put some things in his truck at the end of our family Mother’s Day gathering, I noticed his tool box. My dad had a tool box. Whether he was laying down a roof for some extra cash after working a tour on the New York City Police Department or telling us to go weed the front yard, my dad put great value on work that could be performed by either tools in a toolbox, a bit of ingenuity, or a good set of hands, the more calloused the better.

What does "a good set of hands" mean?

Thanks!

Jason
It means skilled labor.
 

GoesStation

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A good set of hands is a way of saying "a good worker"; that is, a person with skilled hands who isn't afraid to work hard.

The text has a mistake. It should say calloused. "Callous" is an adjective meaning cruel and uncaring.
 

jasonlulu_2000

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Thanks for your help. Is "hand" collocated with " set"? I thought you only say "a pair of hands".
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Thanks for your help. Is "hand" collocated with " set"? I thought you only say "a pair of hands".
Good question. We do usually say "pair of hands." But saying "set of hands" suggests that hands are tools. That fits his father's way of thinking.
 

tedmc

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How do you lay down a roof? I would say constructing/installing/fixing a roof, depending on what the work entails.

Why do you say either tools?
 
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Rover_KE

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[STRIKE]calloused[/STRIKE] callused
 

GoesStation

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How do you lay down a roof? I would say constructing/installing/fixing a roof, depending on what the work entails.

Why do you say either tools?
The most common type of roof in the United States is made from fiberglass shingles nailed onto plywood decking. Applying the shingles involves laying them down, one strip at a time.

The sentence with either lists three things: "tools in a toolbox, a bit of ingenuity, or a good set of hands". It's more common to limit "either" to two possibilities, but it's not unusual for a speaker to forget this.
 

emsr2d2

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Shouldn't it be '...a tour to/of the New York City Police Department..'?

No. It means "spending a particular length of time working for the NYPD".
 
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