Home vs. House: What does this mean?


“No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there – well or poorly.”

~Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), Russian-American poet & Nobel Prize winner


What’s the difference between a house and a home? English speakers clearly distinguish the two words. A house is simply the building where people live. It’s a physical structure. A house can be a stand-alone house, an apartment, or a condo.

A home, however, is the place where people live, create their lives, and feel comfortable. Often, teenagers who are forced to move may feel that their new location is a house, but not a home. They may have no memories there or friends nearby.

Does the expression “A house is not a home” in seem different when you understand this point?

You can continue to explore what home means with your students through the following prompts. Have them use complete sentences to respond.


1. When you were a child, did you live in a house or an apartment?

2. What did you like about it? What did you dislike?

3. Which was your favorite room? Why?

4. What is your favorite childhood memory at home?

5. Have you ever felt homesick? What did you miss the most?

6. Is your neighborhood the same today as it was when you were a child? In what ways is it different? In what ways is it the same?

7. What makes a good neighborhood?

8. Would you rather live in an apartment or a house? Why?

9. Would you rather live in a city, a suburb, a small town, or the countryside? Why?

10. Can you suggest some places to find interior design ideas? Where is a good place to buy furniture? Why?

11. What would your dream residence be like? Can you describe it in detail?

12. What modern appliances would your dream house have? Do you have—or want to have—a robot? Why?

13. What are some advantages of an apartment compared to a house?

14. What makes a house a home for you?


For more on this topic, try Chapter 3: Home Sweet Home, featured in Compelling Conversations – Japan!


Ask more. Know more. Share more.

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One comment

  1. I really like to think that most people actually know the difference however i cant that for the people who’se english is secondary language like me.
    In my personal opinion a house defines a physical structure that people live in , however the definition home is more of psychological term a warm and welcoming place.
    A house can sometimes not be home and the opposite aswell. It mostly depends on your point of view on these two terms.

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