House = home?

NHHL

Senior Member
Singapore-English
- His multi-million dollar home was designed by a famous Italian architect.

- Why don't we say "house" instead of "home" in this situation?

Thanks so much!

NHHL
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    A person could make their home in an apartment or condominium or perhaps something else depending on the context.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    A person could make their home in an apartment or condominium or perhaps something else depending on the context.

    Right! Or a cave or a tree, for that matter. :D

    But "home" (or, recently, "residence") instead of "house" or "apartment" is often used here in real-estate advertising because it seems more elegant (at least to those producing the ads).
     

    Ms Missy

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Another reason for referring to it as a home instead of a house might be that the word house seems to refer more to a single dwelling or structure, whereas in this case we're probably speaking of a multi-million dollar mansion consisting of several structures.

    Just a thought,
    Ms Missy
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    A house is a house, but a home is where you live.

    In my mind an unoccupied house is always just a "house".

    Whereas an occupied house can be a "home".

    "Home" is the more inclusive term.
     

    Anais Lee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    I've found the following sentence in a grammar exercise:

    He bought homes in Milan, Paris, New York and Miami, which were filled with works of art from all over the world.

    I believe those houses were not occupied when he bought them. I'm wondering if this usage is correct?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It is normal for a house to be unoccupied when you buy it! Well, the exception would be if you buy it as an investment and you want to rent it out, and there is already a tenant in residence.

    For a house to be a home it doesn't need to be lived in full-time. You might have a "second home" away from your main residence, in which you might live at weekends or when on vacation.

    Perhaps the "he" in your sentence would live in his Milan home whenever he visited Milan, etc.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I would argue that a person who owns four houses does not have four homes. It's rather like saying that a man with four mistresses has four wives. Using the word "home" implies a degree of emotional commitmernt that the man in #7 clearly doesn't have.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't find your argument convincing. "Wife" is a legal status that has nothing to do with how you feel about someone. You might as well say that a person can only have one child and the others are just "offspring" that he feels nothing for by the same argument.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    I think you can have four homes. If they've got your stuff in them and it's you who spends time living in them, even just once a year, they're your homes. A country pile in Surrey and a townhouse in Mayfair, plus a handy condo in Manhattan and a sweet little pied à terre in Paris.... "of course they're all homes, darling".

    "He has four houses" sounds like he's an estate agent or property developer.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I've found the following sentence in a grammar exercise:

    He bought homes in Milan, Paris, New York and Miami, which were filled with works of art from all over the world...
    Your grammar exercise is an lesson in advanced capitalism, not a real-life statement about the difference in emotional content between the words "house" and "home". Try these instead:
    • I have a room in a house in London, but my real home is in the Suffolk village where my parents still live, and where I go back whenever I have a day free.
    • He bought houses in Milan, Paris, New York and Miami, which were filled with works of art from all over the world, but he spent so little time in any of them that none felt like home.
     

    Anais Lee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thank you everyone for the answers! The reason why I found this sentence strange was that I thought we could buy the physical building, but not the house plus the emotional feelings. I meant he could probably have homes, but not bought them.

    However, I've just found there's an entry in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary which seems to suggest "home" can be used to mean "house" (sense 2):

    a house or flat, etc., when you think of it as property that can be bought and sold

    home_1 noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com

    [Edit: That's probably what Parla meant in post #4.]
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You cannot buy the emotional feelings, but you can have the emotional feelings as soon as (or possibly before) you buy the house. Emotions were involved in why you picked that house. You picked it because you knew you would feel at home there.
    ("You loved your wife before you married her." if we're sticking with that analogy.)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    He bought homes in Milan, Paris, New York and Miami,
    He bought houses (that he intended to use as homes) in Milan, Paris, New York and Miami,

    People can buy houses for many purposes other than to use as homes. They might re-sell them, rent them, etc.
    A person might buy 50 houses, but not plan to live in any of them (use them as a home).

    If you buy a house for the purpose of using it as a home, you "buy a home".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In my experience, when rich people have houses all over the place they are generally referred to as homes. It's probably that same thing mentioned very early in the thread about how it sounds and why it's used in the real estate industry. "I own three houses" sounds kind of antiseptic, like they are just physical buildings. "I own three homes" sounds cozier and like you have more of a local connection. You probably want to project that sense when you are a stranger to a place and just bought something there because you are rich and can afford it. It's like saying, "I belong here."
     
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