by Liz Walter
Apparently, a lot of people who are either in lockdown or working from home because of the pandemic are using their extra time to do jobs in the home, so this post offers some words and phrases to talk about these tasks.
Both Brits and Americans talk about home improvements, which could be anything from painting a room to putting in a whole new kitchen and could be done by anyone. British (and Canadian) people often use the word DIY, which stands for ‘do it yourself’. As the name indicates, this term is used for doing things yourself rather than hiring a professional. Small repairs are often called odd jobs. Note the collocations: we can make or do home improvements, but we do DIY and odd jobs:
Many people are making home improvements to add value to their property.
I spent the weekend doing some DIY.
Can you recommend someone to do a few odd jobs for me?
British people are most likely to refer to stores that sell materials and equipment for these jobs as DIY stores, while Americans are most likely to call them home improvement stores/centers. Both varieties of English refer to hardware stores, which sell tools and metal objects such as nails:
I need to go to the DIY/home improvement/hardware store to buy a saw.
I need to fix the door handle.
They live in a renovated warehouse.
She spent months restoring an old oak wardrobe.
They’re planning to do up the cottage and rent it to holidaymakers.
They maintain the building by making repairs when necessary.
Hardwood floors require a lot of maintenance.
There are several nice collocations connected with home improvement. For large pieces of equipment or furniture such as cupboards, we use verbs like install, fit or put in. We usually put up shelves and assemble furniture that comes in pieces:
They installed a new boiler.
We need to find someone to fit our kitchen.
He put up some shelves in his study.
Do you have any instructions for assembling the bed?
You need to drill through the brick.
I chiselled a small hole in the plaster.
Let me know if you have been doing any home improvements, and look out for the second part of this topic, which will focus on decorating.