Everybody hates doing chores.
A “chore” means an ordinary job that we do regularly. Usually, it means the work that we must do to keep the house clean.
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Examples of chores are cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, shopping etc.
We all try to avoid doing chores so there’s actually a funny expression: “Chore Wars.”
This means the difficulty of sharing household chores, especially between husband and wife. Of course if they have kids, they’re also part of the war.
As you can imagine, this can be a very serious and sensitive matter. Based on tradition (or stereotype), women are supposed to take care of most of the chores. In fact, some men feel that they’re not manly* if they do household chores.
*manly = macho; like a man
But at this modern age when many women are also working to earn money, more equality is expected when it comes to household chores.
How about you? Do you like doing chores?
Errand vs. Chores
There’s another word that is often confused with “chores” because it’s similar.
The word “errand” is used in phrases like “run an errand,” “do an errand” or “go on an errand.”
“Errand” comes from the Old English word aerande which means “message” or “mission.” This is why “errand” means a short journey that you take to perform a duty*.
*duty = something that you must do
For example, going to the bank, getting your (car’s) oil changed, picking up clothes from the cleaners*, etc.
*cleaners = a place where you bring clothes to be dry-cleaned
Today we’re going to express the different everyday work around the house (domestic chores). As you know, expressions for these are very common and useful.
I’ll teach you 2 ways to talk about chores…
First of all, we should learn proper Collocation.
(If you’ve forgotten what Collocation means, have a quick review here first:
When talking about chores, the word “Do” is often used.
Here are some common expressions for chores:
Do the dishes / do the washing up
Do the gardening
Do the housework
Do the ironing
Do the laundry / the washing
Do the shopping
As you can see from our list, it’s important to put the Article “the” in our expressions, although it may sound strange to some of our readers. This is because the second word in the expression “shopping,” “washing” etc. isn’t really a Verb but, in fact, a Noun.
Please don’t mix up this structure with Go V+ing ex. go shopping, go jogging, go camping etc.
Indeed it gets very confusing for learners like you, but try and use the expressions above as a fixed set or as an idiom. This is the best way to learn Collocation.
#2. Phrasal Verbs
If you want, you can also use Phrasal Verbs to talk about chores.
A Phrasal Verb is an idiomatic phrase that has (1) a Verb and (2) a Preposition or Adverb.
Here are some examples of Phrasal Verbs commonly used for household chores:
Clean off / wipe off the table
Clean up the room
Hang out the clothes
Pick up the dry cleaning (from the cleaners)
Put away the toys / books / food etc.
Sweep up the mess
Take out the garbage
Throw out the trash
Tidy up the closet
Turn on the sprinklers
How to Use
When you use Phrasal Verbs, you have to remember that there are 3 styles.
For example, let’s say our Phrasal Verb is “Turn on” while our Noun is “TV.”
Turn on + the TV
# 1. Turn the TV on = Ok
# 2. Turn on the TV = Ok
As you can see, the Noun can either be at the end or in the middle (inside) of the Phrasal Verb.
However, take a look at these:
# 3. Turn it on = Ok
# 4. Turn on it = X
The rule has changed. Now that you are using a Pronoun (it, him, them etc.), you can only put the Pronoun in one place: inside.
Please practice using Phrasal Verbs till you get used to its 3 styles:
# 1. Call up Susan
# 2. Call Susan up
# 3. Call her up
Note: Just be careful of some special Phrasal Verbs called “Inseparable.”
Catch up with
Look down on
Come up with
These Phrasal Verbs, just like their name says, can never be separated.
Hear him from = X
Catch them up = X
Look us down = X
Come it up = X
Disagree her with = X
We should say:
Hear from him = Ok
Catch up with them = Ok
Look down on us = Ok
Come up with it = Ok
Disagree with her = Ok
Countable vs. Uncountable
Lastly, when you are using Pronouns with Phrasal Verbs, you should pay attention to the original Nouns – whether they are Singular or Plural, Countable or Uncountable. This is also important.
Take a look:
Pronoun = X
Pronoun = OK
Wipe off the table
Wipe them off
Wipe it off
Clean up the room
Clean them up
Clean it up
Sweep up the mess
Sweep them up
Sweep it up
Pick up the laundry
Pick them up
Pick it up
Put away the food
Put them away
Put it away
If you want to have a quick review of Countable and Uncountable Nouns, kindly click this link:
Hope You Learned Something!