In this A2 pre-intermediate English Vocabulary lesson, you will learn about housework or household chores. They are terms that we use to describe the jobs that we do to keep our homes clean and running efficiently. Most of us do these chores on a daily or weekly basis. Here’s a list of household chores with pictures, definitions and examples:
1 To sweep the floor means to clear the floor of dust and other matter using a broom, and to 2 mop the floor means to wash the floor with soap and water using an implement called a mop. Most people mop the floor after they have swept it.
- After I’ve swept the floor, I’ll mop it.
3 To vacuum (US) or to hoover (UK) means to clear the floor of dust, hair, and other particles using a machine called a vacuum cleaner. Most vacuum cleaners are electric and make a lot of noise.
- I couldn’t hear the radio because Maria was vacuuming.
4 To dust means to clear surfaces of dust and particles. Dusting is usually done using a tool called a duster.
- I stood on a chair to dust the high shelves.
5 To wash means to clean something (e.g., a car) using soap and water. Most people wash their clothes and dishes on a regular or daily basis.
- Joe washes his car every Saturday.
6 To do the washing up (UK) or to do/wash the dishes (US) means to wash dirty plates and glasses, and 7 to do the laundry means to wash dirty clothes, usually in a washing machine.
- It’s your turn to do the washing up; I did it yesterday.
- I do my laundry twice a week.
8 To clean something, like for example a window, a room, etc., means to remove the dirt, dust or marks from it. You can do that by washing, wiping or dusting.
- When I finish cleaning the windows, I’ll clean the bathroom mirrors.
9 To iron means to remove lines and wrinkles from clothing using a hot implement called an iron. Many people iron their shirts after they have washed and dried them.
- Anna is ironing her husband’s shirts.
10 To take out the trash (US) or rubbish (UK) means to take a bag of rubbish outside so that it is ready for collection. Most people take out their trash in a black bag and leave it in a designated place.
- Before I go to bed, I’ll take out the trash.
11 To set the table means to prepare the table for a meal by putting down cutlery (forks, knives, and spoons), glasses, and napkins. 12 Clear the table has the opposite meaning, as it is what we do when a meal has ended. When we clear the table, we take the plates, dishes, and cutlery back to the kitchen to be washed.
- Mum asked me to set the table.
- Let me help you clear the table.
13 To make the bed means to pull up the sheets and blankets on the bed after it has been used. Most people make their beds as soon as they get up in the morning.
- Before I go to school, I make my bed.
14 To tidy up means put things back in their proper places so that everything is ordered or neat.
- You must tidy up (your room) before you leave.
15 To water the plants means to pour water on the flowers and plants inside and outside our home in order to keep them alive. People usually water their plants using a jug called a watering can.
- I water the plants in my kitchen twice a week.
16 To make breakfast/lunch/dinner means to cook or prepare food for those meals. We also say 17 to make tea, coffee, etc.
- Will you make dinner?
- I’m making coffee. Do you want a cup?
18 To do chores means to do tasks that have to be done regularly at home, such as cleaning, doing the laundry, ironing, etc.
- Children who do chores learn responsibility.
19 To do the shopping means to go to a store or shop to purchase items like groceries, household goods, or other necessary products.
- I usually do the shopping every Monday after work.
20 To walk the dog means to take the dog outside.
- I walk the dog every evening in the park.
Make vs do
The verbs make and do are often used to talk about housework. Make is basically used to mean ‘cook’ or ‘prepare’ something in the kitchen, although we also say make the bed. The verb do is more often used with tasks, jobs or chores in general. We normally use do with -ing verb forms describing activities.
- breakfast / lunch / dinner: Jim makes dinner for the family every evening.
- tea / coffee: I am making a cup of tea. Do you want one?
- the bed: As soon as I get up, I make my bed.
- chores: I do a lot of chores to help my mother.
- the laundry: I do the laundry twice a week.
- the dishes / the washing up: After we’ve finished eating, I’ll do the dishes.
- the ironing: I usually do the ironing in while watching television.
- the dusting: I use a duster to do the dusting.
- the shopping: Mary does the shopping at our local supermarket.