'Habitation' related words and the slight usage nuances between them

1) What do you call the people living activity somewhere:

a) residence

b) habitation

c) dwelling

P.S I think ‘a’ doesn't work here and the only word for this concept in English language which can be used in both written and spoken English is ‘habitation’; though it sounds a bit stilted and scientific. If so, is there any word which can be used instead which is more neutral? Also, for me 'dwelling' is too formal and a legal term which is used very rarely in everyday English.

2) What do you call the place where someone lives:

a) residence

b) habitat

c) domicile

Added: for me the only choice which is correct here is ‘a’; as far as I’m concerned ‘b’ is used only for animals and plants; although it is too scientific and if one uses it in everyday conversations and for an individual, it would sound odd and unnatural.

3) What do you call a place where is suitable for people to live in:

a) residable place

b) habitable place

c) inhabitable place

added: I guess ‘a’ doesn't exist in English vocabulary at all, and both ‘b’ and ‘c’ work in this sense.

4) What do you call a place where is ‘not’ suitable for people to live in:

a) unresidable place

b) uninhabitable place

Added: in my view, the only usable word in this sense could be ‘b’; for me ‘a’ is incorrect.

  • 1
    "What do you call the people living activity somewhere" - I'm sorry, but this doesn't make any sense to me. Could you rephrase or explain?
    – Martha
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 16:31
  • I think you meant "1) What do you call the people living actively somewhere:"
    – user3169
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


1a) "He is the artist-in-residence."

1a) I reside in Seattle. (This is not as natural as "I live in Seattle", but it is legally precise.)

1a) Seattle has half a million residents.

1b) Seattle has half a million inhabitants.

1c) Half a million people dwell in Seattle.

1c) I dwell in Seattle. Peregrin Took dwelled in the Great Smials.

1c) There are two hundred thousand dwellings in Seattle. (Homes.)

2a) My residence is a nice home.

2b) The natural habitat of a computer programmer is a cave, lit only by glowing computer screens and other artificial light sources.

2c) My domicile is in Seattle. I am domiciled in Seattle. (Again, these are not as natural as "My home is in Seattle", but they are legally precise.)

3b & 3c) "Habitable place" and "Inhabitable place" are both valid phrases. A "hospitable clime" is used to describe regions.

4b) An "Uninhabitable place" is a valid phrase. "Inhospitable" is also used to describe regions.

  • Thank you Jou please Jasper, but could you please tell me if both the "I is reside in Seattle” and “I dwell in Seattle” mean the same and they are natural sentences which can be used in everyday polite conversations.
    – A-friend
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 18:00
  • Does the sentence "My residence is a nice home" sound natural to be said in everyday English?
    – A-friend
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 18:04
  • And finally, can we say "Seattle has half a million dwellers"? Is it as natural as "residents OR inhabitants"?
    – A-friend
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 18:32
  • 1
    @A-friend -- "I is reside in Seattle" is grammatically incorrect. "I reside in Seattle" is usually only used in legal contexts (or semi-legal contexts). "I dwell in Seattle" is old-fashioned. "I live in Seattle" is normal and conversational. "My residence is a nice home" is grammatically correct, but not something people usually say. (It mixes a semi-legal usage with an informal usage.) Some people do answer the phone with things like "Simmons residence. How can I help you?" Also, some real estate ads use the term "residence".
    – Jasper
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 19:08
  • @A-friend -- "The Raiders have been cellar-dwellers for a dozen years" is (currently) a natural statement. But "Seattle has half a million dwellers" is not natural. "Seattle has half a million residents" has more of a legal connotation than "Seattle has half a million inhabitants."
    – Jasper
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 19:16

1) and 2)

a) The location where you are (ex. your residence address)
b) Not usually used for people (ex. the bears' habitat)
c) The physical building or structure (ex. I live in my house)

3) b) or c). To me these sound unnatural though.

4) b) I have never heard a).

  • Thank you very much, but both you and "Jasper" are AmE natives. Why Jasper says both '3b' and '3c' are acceptable, while you say that only '3b' works for this meaning? :-/ Perhaps it is a regional difference. Am I right?
    – A-friend
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 17:47
  • I see. I edited my answer. Maybe its personal preference.
    – user3169
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 21:18

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