let's go home.

let's go to home.

let's go house.

let's go to house.

I'm going home

I'm going to home

When should I use 'home' and when should I use 'house'.

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    Additional information: House is a particular kind of building. Home is where people live. People can live in a house, an apartment, a condominium, even an RV, and so on. – Damkerng T. Feb 7 '15 at 9:37

There is a noun home and a noun house. There is also a preposition home too.

The most important aspect for this question is the preposition home, but I'll say a little bit about the nouns house and home first.

The noun House

Your house is the physical building that you live in - and it must be a house, not a flat! A house has rooms on the ground floor. It also usually has a front door on the ground floor. A flat is not a house!

Here's a picture of some houses:

Doug Bird's picture of houses

Here's a picture of some flats:

enter image description here

So houses are physical buildings. A flat is part of a larger physical building.

The noun Home

Your home is any place where you feel that you belong. It is usually a safe place. It's a place that you know very, very well. It's a place you look after and like to be in - usually. It might be a house or a flat or a caravan, or a city, or even a country. If you know a city well and you feel good there, and you feel that you belong there, you can say:

  • This city is my home.

It doesn't matter whether a home is a type of building or not. Many animals have homes. They don't usually have flats or houses though!

The preposition home

We can use the preposition home like other prepositions, for example in, up, down, inside. The preposition home means "to or in your home":

  • Go in
  • Go up
  • Go down
  • Go inside
  • Go home

Like with other prepositions we can use the preposition home with the verb BE:

  • She is in.
  • Prices are up
  • The lever is down.
  • The box is inside.
  • She isn't home.

Like many other prepositions, home can occur with other prepositions:

  • out of the window
  • from inside
  • down in the depths
  • at home

With the verb GO, we don't use the preposition to as well as another preposition. The following sentences are ungrammatical:

  • *She went to in the door. (X)
  • *The lift is going to up. (X)
  • *The lift is going to down. (X)
  • *I walked to inside the building. (X)
  • *She went to home. (X)

We use the special adverbs straight and right with prepositions:

  • Go straight in
  • We went right up to the top of the mountain
  • The lift went straight down to the ground floor.
  • I went right inside.
  • She went straight home.


Notice that we can use nouns after the preposition to. So the following sentences are ok:

  • I went to the cinema
  • I travelled to the Andes.
  • I went to my friend's home.
  • I went to my friend's house.

Here we are using the noun home, not the preposition. If you use the noun home in this way it will usually have a determiner (a, the, this, my ...) or it will be plural. It may also have adjectives:

  • I'm going to different homes in the area.

In the example above, we see the noun home. We know it's the noun because it is plural homes not home. Also, it has an adjective different. Notice that in this example, the noun homes does not have a determiner. Because we are using the noun home, we still need to use the preposition to with the verb GO here.

Hope this is helpful!

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    A dialect note: "a flat" is very British (Commonwealth?) English. In the US, we call that an apartment. – stangdon Feb 7 '15 at 20:56
  • I wonder why home is a preposition as opposed to an adverb. Most online dictionaries list this usage as preposition. I know dictionaries are not 100% correct especially when it comes to parts of speech (I also remember you emphasizing that in a comment to one of my questions on ELU). But if home is a preposition in go home, can we follow that phrase with a noun? go home + noun? – Eddie Kal May 22 '19 at 21:48
  • Hi @Eddie, see here for a description of intransitive prepositions :) Bit too long for a comment box! – Araucaria - Not here any more. May 22 '19 at 23:43
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    @Araucaria It's crystal clear now. Thank you! – Eddie Kal May 22 '19 at 23:51

Generally, the word 'house' refers to a building. On the other hand, the word home has some emotions in that.

The preposition at is possible with home.

Let's go. She must be at home

But then, use prepositions with home carefully. A note from the Cambridge Dictionary is very good to refer.

We use home as an adverb with verbs of movement such as get, go, come, arrive, travel, drive. We don’t use 'to'.

I strongly recommend reading the entire page. This clarifies many things about home/house and using prepositions.

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The expression is "to go home". You don't say "to go to home" and you don't say "to go house". "to go home" is a fixed idiom that you can't change.

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  • Hmmm, how about go straight home, go right home, go via home .... thay seem like modification of go home to me! ;-) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Feb 7 '15 at 18:21

I believe the reason we say "to go home" is because in this use "Home" is an "adverb of place". "House" does not have that use so does not work in that form.

In "go to my home" and "go to my house" we are using them as nouns. Both words can be nouns, adjectives or verbs in the right context.

Other adverbs of place include "abroad", "upstairs", compass directions, and "outside"

(The differnce in meaning between "house" and "home" is why "housework" and "homework" are completely different activities.)

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