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Assuming I live in the north but come from From the south, from another thread I got to know that we can say it’s starting to get hot down home whereas as it’s starting to get hot home is incorrect, even though "home" can be used as an adverb on its own, which leads me to think, should I say "I’m doing the dishes at home" or "I’m doing the dishes home"? My intuition tells me the former sounds better.

Anyway, can anybody tell me how to use "home" vs "at home" vs "down home"? In which case are they used and how would the meaning change if they are used in place of each other?

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  • @JamesK "Commencing" isn't in this example. This question is only about the "down home" portion of that passage.
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:08
  • @FeliniusRex "Home" can also be an adverb, as in, "I'm home" or "I'm going home".
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:09
  • @gotube Not in AmE it's not. I'm home is a shortened form of I am (at) home. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:24
  • Correction: Remember that down is a preposition, because it indicates direction (to where? at where?). Home is a noun. You have to say "I am doing the dishes at home", because "at home" says where you are doing them. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:26
  • @FeliniusRex "at home" is an adverbial. It's not a noun.
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 23:08

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Adverbial use of "home" is restricted to verbs of motion :"go home" or "carry him home", and a few idioms like "I'm home!" or "There's nobody home".

In the first case the meaning of "home" is "to home". In other senses a preposition is generally required. In your example it is the prepostion "down", in standard English "at home" would be more common.

Similarly, with verbs that don't express a motion, you need the prepositional phrase. "I'm doing the dishes at home."

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  • How about ‘there’s nobody at home’? Is the omission of at just an idiomatic thing? Or does at change the meaning of the sentence in any way?
    – Ray
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:16
  • I wouldn't even call it adverbial usage, because even in cases of "carry him home" you can place the preposition in there and the sentence still makes sense, though it does sound awkward to modern ears. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:33
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    It doesn't change the meaning. It is just a different phrasing of the same idea. --- Or perhaps "There's nobody home" is used when you mean "at this home" Whereas "There's nobody at home" is used when you mean "at my home"... Perhaps that is a very nuanced difference. Certainly its not very important.
    – James K
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 20:33
  • This British English speaker would never say "There's nobody home", whether it was my own or someone else's I was talking about. Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 21:01
  • @FeliniusRex Adding the preposition means it's a adverbial usage. "At home" is not a noun. It's an adverbial. Most prepositional phrases act as adverbials.
    – gotube
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 23:04

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