leave the house or leave home?


Which one is natural when you refer to the place where you live, not just a constructed dwelling ?

A: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave the house.

B: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave home.

Somehow, "the house" sounds more natural to my ears in this case but I am not sure if it is correct.


Posted 2015-06-04T01:16:24.400

Reputation: 357

1In my opinion, both are perfectly fine and widely used. – Catija – 2015-06-04T01:33:31.627

1I do not understand what you mean by "the place where you live, not just a constructed dwelling." The place where people live is a constructed dwelling (unless they live in the street). Do you mean the constructed dwelling in which the speaker lives as opposed to some other constructed dwelling? – None – 2015-06-04T03:47:54.633

2Note that leave home can also mean leave one's parents to go and live on one's own, a meaning I wouln't read in leave the house (cf. The Beatles, She's leaving home) – oerkelens – 2015-06-04T14:02:03.527

@oerkelens Yes, but the context here prevents that interpretation. – Catija – 2015-06-04T17:06:15.970

2There's an emotional connotation to the word 'home', implying that your home is where you live and "feel at home". Despite the best efforts of real estate salespeople, not every house is a home, nor is every home a house. Though there's a good bit of overlap n everyday speech, I would say "leave home" when I leave my house, but "leave the house" when I'm leaving some other house that I'm just staying at temporarily. – jamesqf – 2015-06-04T18:23:46.657

@oerkelens I was also going to use that song as an example, but the OP hasn't clarified what he/she means yet. – None – 2015-06-04T20:39:35.037

@pazzo - The way I read it, the O.P. already knows that "house" can refer to anyone's house. So, if I'm at Ben's house, I would say, "I'll call you when I leave the house." The O.P. is asking which is more appropriate when you leave your own house (home). – J.R. – 2015-06-04T21:37:29.053

I am not sure of that @J.R. or I would have written an answer more than 24 hours ago. ;) – None – 2015-06-04T21:43:10.823

@pazzo - I'll admit I'm speculating some, but I think there's some evidence that I'm on the right track, based on the comment by the O.P. under user3169's answer. – J.R. – 2015-06-04T21:45:52.520



One or the other might be more common for people living in houses in certain areas, but I've heard both and both sound completely fine to me.

I would be less likely to say 'house' if my home was not actually a house. I currently live in a split-level townhouse, and sometimes refer it to as "my house" and sometimes as "my home". When I live in an apartment, I use "my apartment" or sometimes "my home". So, I would say "my home" is more common simply because 'home' includes more types of dwellings than 'house'.

If 'honey' is aware that I'm at home, I would probably just say "when I leave" without specifying what type of residence I'm leaving.


Posted 2015-06-04T01:16:24.400

Reputation: 3 272


Well you could use both, but in this scenario I would go with:

A: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave the house.

As a physical action this is fine.

But while a house is a home, home also refers to the more emotional perception of where you live, including family relationships and such.


Posted 2015-06-04T01:16:24.400

Reputation: 29 679

I think that interpretation on the end is a stretch. – DCShannon – 2015-06-04T02:07:55.710

Considering context there would be no interpretation that she was moving out... also, I don't know why the gender of the person matters at all. – Catija – 2015-06-04T02:15:26.413

1Actually, this is why I feel reluctant to use "leave home". I am not a native English speaker so I don't feel that I can argue. However, I have a feeling that "leave home" does not necessarily have to mean "terminate a relationship". I can only guess though. – Ascendant – 2015-06-04T02:15:33.273

1@PerfectGundam A college student, for example, may say "I'll give you a call when I leave home" implying they're on the way to the airport from their parents' house... but there's still context that distinguishes what is meant. The college student might be less likely to refer to their dorm as "home" but as long as you're an adult and you're talking about the place you live and consider your "home", you can use this version of the phrase. – Catija – 2015-06-04T02:18:30.643

@Catija I agree the use of "honey" in the example negates my interpretation. I edited my answer. – user3169 – 2015-06-04T03:11:34.240


Luckily, it could be differentiated by using a dictionary.

Definition of house by Dictionary.com:

a building in which people live; residence for human beings.

Definition of home by Dictionary.com:

a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.

A: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave the house.

It could be anyone house, or technically a building (perhaps in the case when I'm homeless).

B: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave home.

This is confirmed, it's home, it is my usual shelter.

Short answer to your question: Both


Posted 2015-06-04T01:16:24.400

Reputation: 1 054

1Dictionaries are not reliable sources of information about this kind of thing. The phrase "leave home" suggests moving out of your parent's house or going on a long journey. So, people tend to favor "leave the house" for what the OP is asking about. Also, the wording of your answer is condescending. Please write respectfully; everyone here is doing their best to learn, and reference materials are often confusing or misleading. – Ben Kovitz – 2015-06-04T17:43:21.383

"Also, the wording of your answer is condescending." I'm also learning, and I don't think one's reply should be regarded as condescending just by the fact that he has mislead someone unintentionally. – XPMai – 2015-06-04T17:50:11.517


I'm not saying that your answer is condescending because it's mistaken, but because of "Answer to your opinion-based question" and the suggestion that the OP should simply have looked the words up in a dictionary. Perhaps I misunderstood, though. "Opinion-based" is a common reason to say that a question is not appropriate for StackExchange because it doesn't have a factual answer (in which case you should vote to close it or suggest improvements rather than post an answer, as explained here).

– Ben Kovitz – 2015-06-04T17:57:24.820

It can indeed be difficult to tell, when learning a new language, what sounds condescending and what doesn't! – Ben Kovitz – 2015-06-04T18:05:15.023

-1 Your interpretation is incorrect. This is not how native speakers always use these words. – None – 2015-06-04T20:42:56.247

The dictionary is of little help here. The O.P.'s question correctly implies that either could be used, but is looking for guidance from native speakers. Moreover, your assertion that "It could be anyone [sic] house" is irrelevant; the question asks about leaving the place where you live. And there's no need to label this an "opinion-based question" in your answer; I will edit that out. – J.R. – 2015-06-04T21:32:45.663

Oh, I misunderstood that it meant to leave the house e.g. to the shopping centre fetch you back. I didn't know OP was referring to run away from home. The sentence is quite common in my region, Singapore. As for the opinion-based, it's really opinion-based that's why as a different person from far region misunderstood. Anyway, please completely delete this answer from public view. Thanks! – XPMai – 2015-06-04T21:48:44.170

@XPMai I'm fine with this answer as it is. If you want it deleted, you can delete it yourself with the delete link right under the text. – DCShannon – 2015-06-05T05:34:23.030