Home

From Teflpedia

Home (/ˈhəʊm/) is an English word meaning "one’s own dwelling place; the house or structure in which one lives; especially the house in which one lives with one's family (etc)"[1]

Meaning[edit | edit source]

There are some subtleties of meaning between "house" and "home";[2] a house is a building, whereas "home" expresses a more personal and emotional meaning.

Form[edit | edit source]

Home can be used as a noun, and as a verb (meaning "to house"), or as an adjective.

Noun[edit | edit source]

We often use the preposition "at" with home, e.g. "I'm at home". We can also use "from", e.g. "I've come from home". However, we don't typically use the preposition "to".

Preposition[edit | edit source]

Home is a preposition, as in:

  • "I'm going home"

Traditional grammar analyses "home" as an adverb; however there are few (if any) similar words that are adverbs. We don't say e.g. *"I'm going school", *"I'm going work", etc. Huddleston and Pullum (2002) analyse "home" as a preposition.

Comparison of noun v. preposition =[edit | edit source]

So we have two main forms (1) as a noun and (2) as a preposition. Contrast the meaning of "I don't want to be sent home" vs. "I don't want to be sent to a home" - the noun means "a house" (implying an institution of some kind, perhaps an old people's home, a children's home or a psychiatric hospital), but the preposition expresses definiteness and possession of the home.

Noun Preposition
  • He was inside his home
  • I don't want to be sent to a home
  • I'm going home
  • I'm at home

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

EFL learners often produce errors such as *"I'm going to home" by analogy with going to other places, e.g. "I'm going to school", "I'm going to the shop", "I'm going to work", etc. There are ways to get "home" to parse as a noun, but they require use of a determiner e.g. "I'm going to my home" or "I'm going to the home".

It's probably not worth trying to explain the grammar to EFL learners as it will likely just confuse them. They just have to learn "I'm going home" as a special case.

Learners may also confuse "house" and "home"

References[edit | edit source]