What's the difference between "house" and "home"?


You may have wondered what the difference between "house" and "home" is. Here's an explanation.

What "house" and "home" mean

A "house" is a building.

Specifically, it's usually a single-family building. Apartment buildings aren't usually called "houses".

A "house" is still a house, whether there are people living there or it's empty.

"Home" is the place where a person lives, or where they feel that they belong. It has more emotional associations than the word "house".

"Home" can also mean the place where you grew up:

I'm going home for the holidays.

How we use "house" and "home"

There's one important difference in how you use the words "house" and "home":

I'm going home now.

I'm going to my house now.

"Home" acts similar to words like "here", "there", "in","out", "somewhere", etc. "House" does not. You can see the same thing in this example:

It's so nice to be home.

"Home" carries more respect than "house", so you can use it when you want to be polite to someone. For example, you can write a formal 'thank you' note to someone who let you stay at their home:

Thank you so much for inviting me to your lovely home.

When you're talking to other people about your own place, you usually use "house" instead of "home":

Want to come over to my house this afternoon?

Phrases that use "house" and "home"

"House" and "home" are used in different phrases. Try to guess whether each of these phrases should use "house" or "home": 

  1. a single-family ___
  2. a dog ___
  3. clean the ___
  4. on ___ arrest
  5. a ___ loan
  6. a ___ owner
  7. a ___ sitter
  8. ___ improvement
  9. ___ school your children
  10. a beach ___
  11. my ___town

Answers are at the bottom.

Other meanings of "house" and "home"

The word "house" has several other meanings as well:

  • We use the word "house" to talk about a country's parliament, senate, or other law-making group:

    The House debated the bill for over four hours before putting it to a vote.

  • "House music" is a certain kind of dance music.

  • "House" can be used as a verb to mean "store" or "contain":

    That building over there houses all of our heavy machinery.

  • You can also "house" large numbers of people:

    Where are we going to house everyone?

  • A bar, restaurant, or casino will refer to itself as "The House":

    A: How much do I owe you?

    B: It's on the house.

    A: Really? Thanks!

There are not as many different meanings of "home", but here are some:

  • The main page of a website is called the "Home" page.
  • In baseball "Home" is the spot on the field where players start and where they have to reach in order to score a point. "Home" is also used in a few other games.

* Answers: 1. a single-family home 2. a dog house 3. clean the house 4. on house arrest 5. a home loan 6. a home owner 7. a house sitter 8. home improvement 9. home school your children 10. a beach house 11. my hometown

  Print this Article

Phrasemix App Download Phrasemix App Download