Do you think your home is clean and tidy? Who usually does the housework in your home? What kind of chores / housework do you usually do? What housework do you dislike? What housework do you like? Did you do some house cleaning when you were young?
  • Houseproud (adj.) - very worried about your house being completely clean and tidy, and spending a lot of time making it so.
  • To wipe something down (phrasal verb) - to clean the surface of something, such as a table, with a cloth.
  • To sweep (verb) - to clean something, especially a floor by using a brush to collect the dirt into one place from which it can be removed.
  • To hoover (verb) - to vacuum.
  • To do the dishes (idiom) - to wash plates, glasses, bowls, silverware etc. with soap and water.
  • To make the bed (phrase) - to make a bed neat after you have slept in it.
  • After a fashion (phrase) - if you can do something after a fashion, you can do it, but not well.
  • Housekeeper (noun) - a person, especially a woman, whose job is to organize another person's house and deal with cooking and cleaning.
  • Frankly (adverb) - in an honest and direct way.
  • Needs must (phrase) - something is necessary.
  • To vacuum (verb) - to use a vacuum cleaner to collect dust, dirt, etc.
  • To take someone's mind off something (idiom) - to stop you from worrying or thinking about a problem or pain, often by forcing you to think about other things.
  • Pampered (adj.) - given special treatment that makes you feel as comfortable as possible or gives you whatever you want.
  • Spoilt (adj.) - a spoiled child is allowed to do or have anything that they want, usually so that they behave badly and do not show respect to other people.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you think your home is clean and tidy?

R: Well, I'm not particularly houseproud, but I certainly do my best to keep everything in order. However, there are times when I just can't be bothered. Although, it's not usually when I'm expecting company. So nobody but me knows that, nobody but me and the entire internet now.

M: What kind of chores or housework do you usually do?

R: Well, aside from general tidying up? I wipe down the surfaces and sweep the floor... Oh, and I hoover the floor too, actually. And, oh, I make the bed. I feel like that's not really serious housework, but it needs to be done. And I do the dishes as well after a fashion.

M: Who usually does the housework in your home?

R: Well, since I live by myself, the responsibility falls to me and me alone, really. Although, I think I do a pretty good job. It would be great having a housekeeper or a cleaner, though. Maybe one day I'll be able to afford one.

M: What housework do you dislike?

R: Well, don't really like any of it, frankly, but needs must. If I had to pick one thing to never do ever again, it would be the vacuuming. It's really time consuming and you can't do anything else while you're doing it because the vacuum cleaner is so loud. So you couldn't even listen to a podcast or something else to take your mind off it.

M: What housework do you like?

R: Cleaning the surfaces is pretty easy. And when you've done it everything looks nice and clean and new. Until 5 seconds later when you need to take a shower or make a meal.

M: Did you do some house cleaning when you were young?

R: I kept my room reasonably tidy, despite what my mother said at the time. And I did the dishes a few times, although nothing scheduled or regular. I was a very lazy child, to be honest with you, quite pampered and spoilt.
M: Thank you, Rory! Oh, housework. So we say we do the housework. Or you can call it household chores.

R: It's almost a chore to talk about it, to be honest with you.

M: Yeah. What is a chore?

R: It's, well... It's something that you need to do to keep your home in reasonably good order. But, of course, it's also something that you don't want to do. So you could also say like, oh, talking to this person is such a chore. And it's just like... It's just something that you have to do in order to get something good.

M: Or doing my school homework is such a chore.

R: Yeah.

M: It's unpleasant, I to have to do it. Like... Yeah, or like doing the dishes is a real chore.

R: Although, you know what homework isn't a chore? Homework for me. If you'd like to sign up for classes with me, you can click the link in the description below and book a class today.

M: Do the housework, do the chores. Or you can say household chores to keep your home clean and tidy. So tidy is another synonym for clean, right? So my house is tidy or clean.

R: Tidy and clean are different things. Clean is like the absence of dirt. Whereas tidy is everything is in its place. So clean and tidy, because they're two different things.

M: Yeah, my house is clean, no dirt, my house is tidy, everything is in the correct order, everything's arranged in the right places.

R: My house is clean. It's not necessarily tidy.

M: And Rory told us that he's not houseproud. I'm not particularly houseproud, to be proud of your house.

R: Yeah, houseproud is just when you're very focussed on how your home looks and making everything nice and tidy and presentable for other people. I am not particularly houseproud. But as you can see, I think I'm quite a tidy person. Maybe one day I will give people a guided tour of my home. Maybe one day hell will freeze over.

M: I do my best to keep everything in order. So I do my best, I try really hard. I tidy up, I arrange things in order. So I do my best to keep my house tidy or to keep everything in order. But sometimes I can't be bothered. I can't be bothered to do something or doing something?

R: I think it's both. I can't be bothered to do this or I can't be bothered doing that.

M: So if you don't want to make an effort and do something. Like I can't be bothered. I can't be bothered to do the shopping, I can't be bothered to do the washing up.
R: Or I can't be bothered doing the shopping, I can't be bothered washing up. You should be bothered washing up and you should be bothered to do the shopping, otherwise you starve to death.

M: The responsibility of housework falls on Rory. Oh, actually, you said like the responsibility falls to me.

R: Yes. So when the responsibility falls to you it... You have it, you have the responsibility. It's difficult to get away from it. So the responsibility for paying bills or for doing your housework or for... What other things are people responsible for? Not dying.

M: What do you call a person who cleans your house? So if Rory is super rich, so when Rory is super rich because of our premium episodes, Rory will be able to afford a cleaner or a housekeeper. So Rory will pay a special person who will clean his house, and this person will keep everything in place at Rory's place. So a housekeeper or a cleaner. And you can say it would be great having a housekeeper or having a cleaner. It would be great having something or it would be great doing something.

R: Oh, it would be great having a house keeper. Imagine all the things you could get done.

M: I get my house cleaned sometimes.

R: Do you? That's awesome. I'd love to get my house cleaned.

M: Oh, yeah... Amazing. Yeah.

R: How much? Will they come and do mine?

M: In Scotland, yeah?

R: Yeah.

M: So, okay, yeah. You can fly this person over to Scotland.

R: I would. I would fly my old housekeeper over. I am still in Scotland in the middle of nowhere, for now. However, we're recording this in April, so perhaps by the time this goes out, I will have moved back to Dundee for a month before Turkey. Oh, everything is happening.

M: What chores do you usually do? So we do chores, we do the housework. So what kind of chores? Rory told us tidy up. So I tidy up my house, I arrange things in order, I wipe down the surfaces. Do you use a wet cloth or you just like... What? You remove the dust?

R: It depends because some people have a dusting cloth and some people have a wet cloth. It depends on what you're doing. Dusting cloth is for dust and a wet cloth is usually for water marks where you haven't used a coaster, for example.

M: You sweep the floors and you hoover.

R: Into your American English, you vacuum the floors. But because I'm living in Scotland, I hoover my floor with a hoover.
M: Do the bed or make the bed?

R: Do the bed or make the bed. Doesn't matter. You're still tidying up.

M: Wait, wait, wait. We say make the bed, not do the bed.

R: I could say do the bed.

M: You can say do the bed? Really?

R: You can if you want to. It's like... What other things do you do to your bed? You change the bed, maybe.

M: No, you change the bedding. The bedding, the sheets.

R: Yes. Because we're using language like bedding. No, you change the bed. Like you change the sheets. Well, you know, you change a baby. That doesn't mean that you get a new baby. You might if you're. If you're really weird. But, yeah.

M: Oh, okay. So do the bed and make the bed refer to the task of tidying up a bed.

R: Yeah. Somehow. Making the bed is to do with making it orderly. Do the bed could be like... It could be the same thing. Or it could be stripping the sheets of. It will depend on how you do things in your home. Who's responsible for what.

M: Well, dear listener, make the bed is more common, okay? So it's safer to say make the bed.

R: Maria has decided on behalf of all English language users everywhere that make the bed is more common.

M: No, it's Just google that.

R: Oh, good. Oh, I see. So we're listening to people... Oh, wait, we're already on the internet. That what? That argument will not work. Never mind. Like chill out. The examiner is not going to go mental just because you said do instead of make for talking about your bed. And if they are, they need to get a life.

M: We do the dishes, okay? Do the dishes. And also if you want to wash your clothes and you do the laundry. So do the laundry, wash your clothes or bedding, like bed sheets. Also, you can say, do the dusting, clean all the windows, clean out your fridge. Like clean out the oven. Yeah? Usually in the kitchen we have an oven, a microwave. And also vacuum your furniture.

R: Do you vacuum your furniture?

M: Oh, I hate that. Oh, sometimes, yeah. Oh, my God. I used to do that. So vacuum the furniture.

R: Why? Oh, wait, yeah. You mean like down the back where things collect? Yeah, that's acceptable. I thought you meant like the surface of the furniture.
M: No the surface, you do the dusting, yeah? Come on.

R: I just had this image of you with a vacuum cleaner.

M: Yeah. So, dear listener, make sure you use some of the specific chores that you do. Rory, you said needs must.

R: Yes. It's another way of saying things that you need to do, you must do.

M: We need more examples.

R: Well, I don't want to pay for my shopping, but needs must.

M: So I have to do it, yeah?

R: Well, yeah, I do. I could steal it, I suppose, but you know, I don't want to.

M: And then our favourite strategy, if I had to pick one, I'd say that... So, if I had to pick one chore I'd say that will be doing the floors. So like sweeping the floors or vacuum cleaning the floors. Rory enjoys cleaning the surfaces.

R: I don't enjoy it. I just kind of have to do it.

M: Cleaning the surfaces. It involves doing the dusting, maybe sweeping the floors. And also, we can say mopping floors. So if I mop floors, what do I do?

R: You get a mop and you wet it and then you mop the floor. You make the floor wet in order to clean it more effectively.

M: Sweep is like... And mop is like...

R: Mopping is wet, sweeping is dry. But they have different purposes. Mopping a floor is usually to apply something like bleach or soap to your floor in order to clean it. Sweeping is just clearing things that are dry and can be swept into a dustpan. And that makes it easier to clean the floor. They're different things used for different purposes. I wish I could say more, but I don't really do it that much, so...

M: When everything looks orderly, everything is in order. So I've just tidied up. My house is all tidy, so everything looks orderly.

R: Yeah. So if everything is... Well, if everything looks orderly, then it's in the right place. If you have bookshelves and they're orderly, then they're all neat and level. And maybe they're in a particular order. Alphabetically, perhaps. So orderly just means when things are put in some kind of order.

M: When I was a child, I kept my room reasonably tidy, so it was like, okay tidy. So to keep my room reasonably tidy, I used to do the cleaning, I don't know, once a week, for example, when I was a child at school. Despite what my mum said. So that's a good structure. Despite. So despite what my mum or despite what my parents told me, I did this and that, yeah? Rory, you were pampered.
R: Well, yeah. I think I'm mature enough to admit that my childhood was probably a little bit more or a little bit less labour intensive than most children. So, for example, I didn't have to do the cleaning and tidying. Not often anyway. I did have to keep my room tidy, but that's about the extent of it.

M: So you lived in a Scottish house, castle. And you had some housekeepers and some... What do you call these people clean your house? Servants?

R: Parents? My parents kept the house clean. And, you know, really it's a problem of their own making. Because they did say they would rather do it so that they could have it done right. And what is a child supposed to do to argue with that? Hm? Nothing.

M: So have it done? Yeah? Have it done. When you have it done, somebody else does it for you. So you can say that, okay, my parents were responsible for all the cleaning and they had it done.

R: Yes.

M: I was quite pampered, so I was like...

R: People are going to think I had this, like, really privileged existence growing up.

M: Oh, yeah. You're like Sir Rory Duncan something, something... Who lived in a Scottish castle, in the Highlands.

R: I would like to point out, you know, not everything was smooth sailing. I just didn't have to do the tidying up. And I feel like I would have traded that for certain other things in my childhood. So, you know, everyone's got trade offs to make.

M: Yeah, Rory, one more word when we talk about the housework is errands. So if I have a list of errands or do the errands.

R: Oh, like when you're running an errand. So an errand is something that you have to do, but it's not inside your house. It's outside, hence the running part. So it's a job that you have to do or a job that you're given outside of your workplace. You're running an errand or running errands.

M: Yeah, maybe do the shopping or pick up some stuff from the laundry.

R: Yeah.

M: Or something else. So you can do or run errands. So little thingies, yeah? Like a short journey to here and there. So run errands.

R: Yes.

M: Errands could also be part of your chores of the housework. Right, dear listener, in the comments, could you write down what chores do you absolutely hate, anything that you like doing around your house, okay? Bye!

R: Bye!
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
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