February 04, 2008

#01-070: Around the House - Part I

a colonial-looking house with three gabled windows on the second floor, and a green front lawn
A house in Canada

Note: Most single-family houses in North America are built on the same pattern. Starting in this lesson, and continuing in Lesson #01-071, we'll take a look at what that involves.

Get Ready: Describe the space you live in. What rooms are there?

Before we look at the elements of a house and yard's layout, let's talk about what we mean by house. When I say, "Come over to my house," I mean, "Come to the place where I live." It may in fact mean an actual free-standing house, but it could also be an apartment or a condominium.

An apartment is one dwelling place (a unit) in a building full of such places, and is rented from the building's owner. One owner (the landlord) owns the building and all of its the apartments. A condominium (or condo) is similar to an apartment building, but the units are owned separately, usually by the people who live in them. A townhouse is a particular style of condominium.

But in this lesson we're going to visit a house. This means we will go to a detached, single-family dwelling. (It's not attached to other units, like an apartment or condominium, and only one family lives there.) 

Approaching the house from the street, you'll see the front yard. Most likely, this will be a well-kept lawn, with perhaps a few flowerbeds around the edges. There might be a fence around the front yard but usually it's low, just to keep dogs and bicycles off the lawn. The "typical" suburban fence is often made of pointed pieces of wood, painted white. This is called a picket fence. If there's a gate, it may be locked, and you'll have to ring a bell.

To get to the house, you'll walk up the sidewalk to the front porch, passing the mailbox on the way. Sometimes, you'll walk partway up the driveway (which leads to the garage) and then turn onto the sidewalk to the front porch. Once on the porch, you ring the doorbell. If it's broken, knock on the door.

Your host will answer, and you'll open the screen door (designed to keep out insects) and walk through the front door. In many homes, the front door leads directly into the living room. In larger homes, there may be a foyer or entryway, where you can leave your umbrella or coat. (Some homes even have a guest closet to hang the coat in.)

The living room is sometimes called the sitting room or parlor, but these are fairly old-fashioned terms. In many cases, this really is where the family "lives." The television might be here, perhaps in a large cabinet called a home entertainment center which can be closed when company (a word meaning "visitors") comes. There will be one or two sofas (also called couches) and several comfortable chairs. Magazines and newspapers might be lying around, and a scattering of children's toys.

However, a larger home might also have a separate space for family use, called a family room, in which case the living room is more formal, and is kept neat for company.

We'll continue our tour in Lesson #01-071.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House

Practice: Match the room, space, or other feature to its description below:

  1. apartment
  2. condominium
  3. driveway
  4. family room
  5. foyer
  6. front porch
  7. home entertainment center
  8. living room
  9. picket fence
  10. screen door

  1. usually the front room of a house, where "company" is greeted
  2. a place to "hide" the television
  3. a "unit" owned by a landlord
  4. used to keep flies and mosquitoes out of the house
  5. a space outside the front door
  6. made of pointed wooden sticks
  7. a path for the car to reach the garage
  8. only found inside the front door in large houses
  9. a "unit" owned by the person who lives there
  10. a less formal space where the kids can play

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 4, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. c; 2. i; 3. g; 4. j; 5. h; 6. e; 7. b; 8. a; 9. f; 10. d