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House or home?

We use the noun house to refer to a building:

They’re building six new houses at the end of our road.

When we refer to being at someone’s house, we can leave out the word house and use at + possessive or at + the definite article + possessive:

We stayed overnight at Mike’s. (at Mike’s house)

We’re going to be at the Jacksons’ this evening. Want to come with us? (at the Jacksons’ house)

We use home in a more personal and emotional way to refer to where someone lives. The noun home does not usually refer to the building. We often use home with the preposition at:

It’s not very big but it’s my home.

Why don’t you phone her now? I think she’s at home.

When we talk about the building we live in, we use house not home:

Our dog stays in the house with us.

Not: Our dog stays in the home with us.

Warning:

We usually don’t use an article or other determiner with home unless we are talking about homes in general:

A lot of energy can be saved in the home by making small changes such as turning off lights. (energy can be saved in all homes)

We use home as an adverb with verbs of movement such as get, go, come, arrive, travel, drive. We don’t use to:

I’m going home now. I’m really tired.

Not: I’m going to home now.

Would you like me to drive you home?

Not: Would you like me to drive you to home?

Home can be used as a countable noun to refer to the place where people or animals live and are cared for by people who are not their relatives or owners:

There’s a home for the elderly at the end of our street.

We got our dog, Scotty, from the local dogs’ home.

(“House or home ?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)

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