engage ~ by the month

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Senior Member
A: How will you manage three children and that big house?
B: I think I have so much difficulty in taking care of them and as my house is so large, it is necessary to engage an extra maid by the month.

Can you folks explain what it means by the underlined phrase? Does it mean "to employ an extra maid for a month?" Or does it mean something else? Can I also say "it is necessary to engage an extra maid three days by the week(or 3 weeks by the month)?"
  • winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    To engage = to employ

    To employ someone by the month means a month at a time - ie for one month but with the chance to renew at the end of each month. You might employ them for a month, and at the end of that month, ask them to stay for another month, and so on.

    In your second example you need three days a week. (Conceivably you might say per week - but this is very formal and very dated nowadays.)

    I work three days a week at the grocer's shop.

    Lastly, three weeks a month would more likely be expressed as I work three week out of four.


    Senior Member
    English, US
    Good evening Jakartaman.

    'Engage an extra maid by the month' means to have pay a maid to work in the home. In the US we would would use a different verb, like 'hire' or 'find' or even just 'get' an extra maid. Because I am unfamiliar with the exact meaning of 'engage' in this context, I am not sure if 'by the month' refers to how often the maid will come to the home or how often the maid is paid.

    In informal (but common) AE, I would say 'I had to get (or hire) a maid to come to my house 3 days a week.'

    To my ear, 'Three days by the week' is not correct.

    I hope that helps,
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