Tuesday, April 16

Did You Finish Your Chores?

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.

all images courtesy of stock.xchng

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…

#1. Do

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 Articlethe” 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.”


Hear from

Catch up with

Look down on

Come up with 

Disagree 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!

Keep on learning !

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