home vs. house

By | July 9, 2017
home vs. house
Home sweet home.
Casa dolce casa.
- Traditional saying
✓ They have a very nice house.
✗ They have a very nice *home*.
Hanno una casa molto bella.
✓ The Earth is our home.
✗ The Earth is our *house*.
La terra è la nostra casa.
The difference between home and house is probably best learnt through examples. However, here we shall look at some of the main differences in usage.
The basic meaning of house is a building or construction with the material things you need to live. You can buy, sell or rent it. The word house does not express an emotional connection.
✓ Their house is on the main road, so it's a bit noisy.
La loro casa è sulla strada principale, quindi è un po' rumorosa.
✓ My house has been on the market for three months but so far no one's come to see it.
La mia casa è in vendita da tre mesi ma finora nessuno è venuto a vederla.
Your home is not only the place where you reside but also where you feel comfortable and safe, and often have an emotional or personal connection to.
✓ It's good to be back home.
E' bello essere a casa di nuovo.
This "sentimental" aspect of the word home is reflected in expressions such as home sweet home, make yourself at home (fai come se fossi a casa tua), there's no place like home, and so on.
We can use home in a more general sense to speak about the house, town or country where someone lives now or was born, to emphasise that they feel that they "belong" to it.
✓ When I moved to Italy, I didn't imagine it would become my home.
✗ When I moved to Italy, I didn't imagine it would become my *house*.
Quando mi sono trasferito in Italia, non immaginavo che sarebbe diventata la mia casa.
You can live in a house without it really being your home; contrariwise, you can call a place your home without it really being a house (for example even if you live in a cave, a caravan, an igloo or the middle of the forest, it can be your home).
Sometimes we contrast a house with a flat or apartment:
✓ Do you live in a house or a flat?
Abiti in una casa o un appartamento?
Home is often used as an adverb directly after a verb. For example:
✓ Ok, everybody, time to go home!
✗ Ok, everybody, time to *go at home*!
Ok, gente, è ora di andare a casa!
✓ I left home at seventeen.
✗ I left *house* at seventeen.
Sono andata via da casa a diciasette anni.
✓ What time will you be home tonight?
✗ What time will you be *at* home tonight?
A che ora arrivi a casa stasera?

Now try the quiz below! There are TEN answers. The pass mark is 90% (9 out of 10). Click on the blue arrows to go to the next or previous question. You can check your answers immediately or when you've finished the quiz.

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