be home to

Discussion in 'English Only' started by anti_freaks, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hi there,

    I'm confused with this phrase "be home to"?:pI can't find it in Longman.:(
    Is "home" adjective? uncountable noun? or adverb?

    (source)
    I think it indicates where they live, right?

    (source)
    And how about this one? I think it means origin.

    (source)
    In this case, it seems to mean headquarters or something.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thank you very much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  2. That's the basic meaning in all three instances, except that car networks and extraterrestrial life do not "live" in the same way people do. (Well, of course, we really don't know about the ETs.:D)

    To "be home to" something simply means to be the place where that thing is located or, in the case of living things, where they live. With the car network, it would indeed refer to the headquarters because we think of a company's headquarters as the place it "lives."
     
  3. ElFrikiChino

    ElFrikiChino Senior Member

    Lisbon
    Italian (Mantova)
    Hi!
    I'm not English, nor a linguist. So, I'd say, in a totally untechnical way, that be home to means that what follows (car charging network, life as we know it, more than half...) can be found there, in what is referred to as "home".

    1. More than half the population of Nairobi lives in the slums
    2. Life as we know it could be found in that Earth-like planet NASA has just discovered.
    3. America's biggest car charging network will develop in Houston.

    Unfortunately I cannot tell you if it's an adverb, an adjective or a noun. For this you need at least a native speaker. I'm not even sure it is something. I mean: it's an expression which, as far as I can tell, has the function of a verb for example:

    Slums host more than half the population
    The new planet could bear/develop life as we know it
    Houston will host America's biggest network.
     
  4. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks edgy;)
    So this phrase does not refer to origin? like the 2nd one?
     
  5. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks anyway ElFrikiChino:D

    I'll be waiting for someone to tell me it's an adjective or adverb or noun:D

    Can I say Al-Qaeda is home to terrorists?:confused:
     
  6. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    No. For something to be "home to" someone, it has to be a place.
     
  7. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    I see.:pThanks Nunty
    Would you please tell me "home" in this phrase is adjective or adverb or noun?;)
     
  8. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    This neighborhood is home to many artists and writers.

    Does that make it easier to see the part of speech?
     
  9. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    That's a good question, Anti Freaks. I'd say that "home" here is being used as a noun. This is tricky because it doesn't take an article in your examples. It's definitely not being used as an adjective as in "home cooking". I don't think it's working as an adverb as in "go home". This leaves me with the idea that it's a noun. Some nouns can work without an article, while others don't work that way:

    He is a father to her children.
    Colorado is home to many mountains that are over fourteen thousand feet tall.


    I suppose that the expression "to be home to something" doesn't need the article because there is only one home for each thing. Maybe somebody else will come up with a better rule of thumb here. :)
     
  10. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    (Sorry for the absence. I went for dinner just now.:p)

    Thanks again, Nunty:)

    Thank you too, owlman;)
    According to Longman, when "home" is used as an adjective, it can only be placed before noun.
    If "home" is a noun, it must be an uncountable noun because an article will be required, right?
    Would it by any chance be an adverb?:confused:Or some new usage developed?

    This neighborhood is home to many artists and writers.
    It means this neighborhood is where many artists and writers live, or this neighborhood is the origin of many artists and writers?:confused:

    Colorado is home to many mountains that are over fourteen thousand feet tall.
    It simply means Colorado is where many mountains locate, right?
     
  11. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Hello, Anti Freaks. Welcome back from dinner:)

    I can't really comment on the information that you found in Longman's grammar because I don't have that text. After giving it some thought, I think I agree that the noun "home" in this expression is being used in a non-counting way. Although "home" ordinarily takes an article, it doesn't in this set expression. Learning the proper use of articles and when not to use them is one of the most difficult parts of English for non-native speakers.

    This neighborhood is home to many artists and writers. = Many artists and writers live in this neighborhood.

    Colorado is home to many tall mountains. = Many tall mountains are located in Colorado.

    I just learned that my favorite internet grammar website is unavailable. This is bad because I thought it did a really good job of explaining the tricky topic of nouns and articles in English. I'll post another reply to your thread if I find another website that does a good job of explaining the subject. For the time being, I suggest that you consider "home" to be a noncount noun when it is used in the set expression "X is home to Y".
     
  12. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    No, because Al-Qaeda is not a place, it is an organisation.

    You could say "Al-Qaeda affords/provides a home to/for terrorists."

    Although this still does not refer to an actual geographical location it is a valid metaphor.
     
  13. anti_freaks

    anti_freaks Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks owlman:DIt's always very nice of you.
    Yes, article and preposition drive me nut:mad:

    Thanks grubble;)
     

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