We're in the garden at home

Discussion in 'English Only' started by linguos, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. linguos

    linguos Senior Member

    This is a great photo. It's me with my sisters. We're in the garden at home.

    At first, I was baffled how on earth can one be at home (ergo inside) and in the garden (which is probably outside) at the same time. Then I came to conclusion, that perhaps, when you say it, you mean that you're in the garden which is just by your house.

    Do I get this right? If that's the case, why the definite article isn't enough here? Surely, if we say to someone "in the garden", doesn't it mean that we assume that our interlocutor already knows which garden we are talking about?
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think it makes sense, linguos.

    If the speaker/writer just said "We're in the garden", the listener/reader might be rather puzzled: why is he telling me they're in the garden, when I can see from the photo that they're in a garden?

    "We're in the garden at home" indicates that they're in the garden belonging to their house, not some other garden.
  3. Biffo Senior Member

    English - England
    A home is not simply a house (i.e a building) it is the place where you live or where you were brought up. If you own a house with a garden then they are both part of your home. Note that the meaning of home can be even wider.


    When the couple divorced they sold the house and Mary went home to her mother.

    Although I work and live in London, Brighton is my real home.

    I have travelled the whole world and lived in many countries but England is my home.


    Note that AE and BE are slightly different in how they use the word home. This is particularly noticeable in the housing market.

    BE: Four bedroom house for sale. Excellent condition throughout.
    AE: Four bedroom home for sale. Excellent condition throughout.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  4. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Your home is not your house. Your home is probably your house plus the gardens and grounds and fence and so on that surround it and belong to you. So if you're in your garden, you're at home. (You're not in your home, which more narrowly means you are in your house.)

    People get photographed in various places. They might be on holiday at Castle Howard or Sissinghurst or somewhere else which has a house, some gardens, perhaps some woods, who knows - so here we are at Sissinghurst. This is a picture of us inside the house. Next is a picture of us in the famous white garden. The garden is the garden of some house, but doesn't have to be the house where I live - just some garden or house that is obvious in the current context.

    Edit: Aw, crap. Cross-posted with some people who managed to get in five minutes before me. How did that happen? Did I have a nap while I was typing?
  5. linguos

    linguos Senior Member

    OK, thank you all very much, Loob, Biffo and Entangledbank, you've been most helpful. :)

    I really didn't know that "at home" doesn't necessarily imply that you're inside your house/flat/other type of accommodation.
  6. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    The phrase "at home" isn't a special case. When the preposition "at" is used (rather than "in" or "inside"), it usually refers to a general location.

    "I'll see you at the station / ... at the cinema" could mean inside or outside. Similarly "I'm at work" could be indoors or out.


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