Dwell, Live and Reside

Happy Pancake

Senior Member
Malaysia-Mandarin
Hi,

Just wondering if anyone could tell me whether these three words are interchangeable or not?

For example,

a)I live in a double storey house.
b)I dwell in a double storey house.
c)I reside in a double storey house.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No. 'Live' is the ordinary word. Say 'live'. 'Reside' is formal, and sounds strange there. 'Dwell' is archaic or obsolete: don't use it.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    (a) live is idiomatic and natural.

    (b) dwell is very formal and really rather archaic.

    (c) reside is quite formal and is more suited to written than to spoken English.

    PS - We'd say "two-storey" rather than "double storey". :)
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    No. 'Live' is the ordinary word. Say 'live'. 'Reside' is formal, and sounds strange there. 'Dwell' is archaic or obsolete: don't use it.
    Besides using " live" , are there any other words for "live"? Sadly, my dictionary tells me "dwell" and "reside" are the synonyms for live only.
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    (a) live is idiomatic and natural.

    (b) dwell is very formal and really rather archaic.

    (c) reside is quite formal and is more suited to written than to spoken English.

    PS - We'd say "two-storey" rather than "double storey". :)
    As for (c), "I reside in a two-storey house." Is this sentence correct If I write it into my essay?
     

    Kirill V.

    Senior Member
    Russian
    (a) live is idiomatic and natural.

    (b) dwell is very formal and really rather archaic.

    (c) reside is quite formal and is more suited to written than to spoken English.

    PS - We'd say "two-storey" rather than "double storey". :)
    What about "dweller"? Is it archaic too?
    For example, in an appartment building something is restricted to use only by people who live in that building (e.g. washing machine)
    What would a note on that washing machine say to convey that idea?

    FOR USE BY DWELLERS ONLY - does this sound fine?
     

    Kirill V.

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I see, thank you very much, Barque and Sound Shift.

    I still have a feeling that I've seen "dwellers" somewhere relatively recently... but I can't recall what kind of context was that. Maybe some artcile that mentioned "dwellers" in the context of living conditions in some poorer countries... I am sorry, this is not a question really. Just if somebody can occasionally think of some kind of context where "dweller" could still be naturally used, I'd appreciate any advice on that.

    For example, talking about people who live in a shack in Africa, would one say that they are "residents"?
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    I see, thank you very much, Barque and Sound Shift.

    I still have a feeling that I've seen "dwellers" somewhere relatively recently... but I can't recall what kind of context was that. Maybe some artcile that mentioned "dwellers" in the context of living conditions in some poorer countries... I am sorry, this is not a question really. Just if somebody can occasionally think of some kind of context where "dweller" could still be naturally used, I'd appreciate any advice on that.

    For example, talking about people who live in a shack in Africa, would one say that they are "residents"?
    Does this mean I can describe underprivileged as dwellers?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I stay in a luxury apartment.
    This gives me the impression that you are only in the apartment on a temporary basis.
    Does this mean I can describe underprivileged as dwellers?
    Only with specific nouns - as Barque says - e.g. "tenement dwellers" or "slum dwellers" but these terms are usually only used in reports or broad descriptions.
    a)I live/dwell in a luxury house.
    There is no context in this so I would not use "dwell" - in your very short sentence, only "live" should be used.
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    Ok.

    In conclusion,"live" is commonly used in English, "Dwell" is archaic and obsolete, "reside" is formal and should only be written in formal writing and "stay" is temporary in some places, so there are no other words for "Live" in English, am I right?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    If you are using such small sentences as "I live in a house." then 'live' is your only option.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I have no idea:) I just think I've seen "dwellers" somewhere and trying to figure out in what kind of context that might have been
    Hmm... "cave-dwellers" perhaps? I think that's about the only context in which I'd consider using it. :eek:
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    How about "city dweller"?I found it in my dictionary. Does this imply poor people that live in the city?:confused::confused::confused:
     

    SReynolds

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    My opinion is that dwelling, dweller and dwell are overly formal. In my experience, they're usually found in legalese because live and reside might not be as inclusive as dwell. You can reside at an address without actually living there and you can live at an address without actually residing there. (If we consider residence as something that has to be reported to government authorities, for example; or living as currently occupying one's piece of accommodation). For example, according to Wikipedia:

    In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home, such as a house, apartment, mobile home, houseboat or other 'substantial' structure. A dwelling typically includes nearby outbuildings, sheds etc. within the curtilage of the property, excluding any 'open fields beyond'. It has significance in relation to search and seizure, conveyancing of real property, burglary, trespass, and land use planning.

    In the California Penal Code, for example, you find things like:

    Any person who shall maliciously and willfully discharge a
    firearm at an inhabited dwelling house, occupied building, occupied
    motor vehicle, occupied aircraft, inhabited housecar, as defined in
    Section 362 of the Vehicle Code, or inhabited camper, as defined in
    Section 243 of the Vehicle Code, is guilty of a felony, and upon
    conviction shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for
    three, five, or seven years, or by imprisonment in the county jail
    for a term of not less than six months and not exceeding one year.

    [...]

    (d) "Inhabited" means currently being used for dwelling purposes
    whether occupied or not. "Inhabited structure" and "inhabited
    property" do not include the real property on which an inhabited
    structure or an inhabited property is located.
    This thing was drawn up in the early 1900s. I don't think your text needs to be aged by things like this.

    Edit: city dweller isn't particularly old-fashioned or literary. I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
     
    Last edited:

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    How about "city dweller"?I found it in my dictionary. Does this imply poor people that live in the city?:confused::confused::confused:
    A city dweller is anyone who lives in a city.

    I'm not sure but I think it carries the connotation of someone who has never experienced life outside a city.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    I just think I've seen "dwellers" somewhere and trying to figure out in what kind of context that might have been
    It is used nowadays when comparing different types or locations of "habitat", at least more or less sociologically, e.g. "city dwellers versus country dwellers" - simply, "people who live in a city versus people who live in the country(side)."

    One term that has so far been forgotten (I think) is "inhabit" but this is usually rather pejorative either with respect to the residence or to the person and it can mean the person spends most of his/her time in a place rather than lives in it.
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    A city dweller is anyone who lives in a city.

    I'm not sure but I think it carries the connotation of someone who has never experienced life outside a city.
    My opinion is that dwelling, dweller and dwell are overly formal. In my experience, they're usually found in legalese because live and reside might not be as inclusive as dwell. You can reside at an address without actually living there and you can live at an address without actually residing there. (If we consider residence as something that has to be reported to government authorities, for example; or living as currently occupying one's piece of accommodation). For example, according to Wikipedia:




    In the California Penal Code, for example, you find things like:



    This thing was drawn up in the early 1900s. I don't think your text needs to be aged by things like this.

    Edit: city dweller isn't particularly old-fashioned or literary. I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
    A city dweller is anyone who lives in a city.

    I'm not sure but I think it carries the connotation of someone who has never experienced life outside a city.
    Thank you.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    It is used nowadays when comparing different types or locations of "habitat", at least more or less sociologically, e.g. "city dwellers versus country dwellers" - simply, "people who live in a city versus people who live in the country(side)."

    One term that has so far been forgotten (I think) is "inhabit" but this is usually rather pejorative either with respect to the residence or to the person ("He inhabits a hut" or "Politicians inhabit the Palace of Westminster").
    I have learnt a new word from you- Inhabit.
    Thank you.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    Kirill V.

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes, it looks like inhabit is also used with reference to animals, insects etc, including some of the most unpleasant ones :)

    So I think one wants to be careful with using the verb with reference to people. Especially we the non-natives stand a substantial amount of risk doing so...

    In fact, Uncle Bob did point that out when offering this option
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    Yes, it looks like inhabit is also used in reference to animals, insects etc, including some of the most unpleasant ones :)

    So I guess one wants to be careful with using the verb with reference to people. Especially we the non-natives stand a substantial amount of risk doing so...
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    I did write that it is somewhat pejorative.
    Two examples from the British National Corpus, neither pejorative about the person but rather pejorative about the residence:

    "When Christopher Tietjens... returns from the trenches to his eighteenth century London house, he inhabits a single room which he furnishes like an army tent."

    "...while the brother he persecutes is both principled and humane, the family house the latter inhabits (significantly named ‘The Warren’) is ripe for destruction,..."
     

    Happy Pancake

    Senior Member
    Malaysia-Mandarin
    I did write that it is somewhat pejorative.
    Two examples from the British National Corpus, neither pejorative about the person but rather pejorative about the residence:

    "When Christopher Tietjens... returns from the trenches to his eighteenth century London house, he inhabits a single room which he furnishes like an army tent."

    "...while the brother he persecutes is both principled and humane, the family house the latter inhabits (significantly named ‘The Warren’) is ripe for destruction,..."
    Good examples.:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::):):)
     
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