Speaking (Visitors & Housing)


Idioms & Expressions:

“Be my guest” (another way of saying “help yourself to something”)

If you’d like to have some pizza, be my guest.


make yourself at home (another welcoming expression you can use to help guests feel comfortable)

Come on in and make yourself at home.


host (verb that means to let someone stay at your home)

My house is quite full this week, since I’m hosting a few guests.


crash (verb that means to stay at someone’s house for a short period of time)

I’ve been crashing at my grandparent’s house this week.


live out of a suitcase (an expression that means to stay in an area for short periods of time and never unpack your suitcase, because you will be leaving soon)

When I travel on business, I live out of a suitcase.


couchsurfing (verb that means to be a guest at someone’s home and to sleep on the couch)

I saved a lot of money by couchsurfing in Europe, rather than pay to stay in hostels.


entertain (verb that means to host people at your home)

When I’m entertaining guests, I’ll cook a nice meal for them.


on the streets (a prepositional phrase that means you are homeless)

He lost his job and unfortunately found himself out on the streets.


living hand to mouth/paycheck to paycheck (expressions that mean to earn just enough money to eat and support yourself – and to always be looking forward to the next paycheck)

Before he was homeless, he was living paycheck to paycheck.


beggars can’t be choosers (an expression that means if you are asking for something, you can’t be picky about what you receive)

The kids wanted chocolate ice cream, but they will have to be happy with vanilla, because beggars can’t be choosers.


Part I: Group Discussions

  1. Do you have a lot of visitors in your home?

Not really. I rent one room in a shared house. Most of the people I live with generally leave the house to hang out with their friends. I think our house is not quite as nice as the homes of some of my friends, so generally we go out instead of host people.

  1. What do visitors usually do in your home?

People usually just watch TV or help us cook in the living room/kitchen. It’s a nice little area with some couches that’s good for chatting.

  1. Do you prefer visiting others or inviting them over to your home?

I’d rather go to someone else’s house – this is mainly so I can leave their home whenever I want, and so I don’t have to clean up anything to prepare for my guests!

  1. Do you usually hang out with your friends at home or outside? What do you usually do?

I vastly prefer to hang out outside my home because I think a bar or a restaurant is a much better venue for hanging out than someone’s home. I like going to new places because it gives you a new experience. Home is nice if you want to watch a movie or something, but it’s better if you can get out of the house.

Part II: Group Discussions (Cont’d)

Describe an interesting house or apartment you visited. You should say:

          what it looked like

          where it was located

          what facilities it had

I remember I visited my aunt’s house in Galveston, Texas. She married a rich man and so her home was pretty big and situated right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It was three stories tall and painted white and blue. The most interesting feature of it was that it was raised up on stilts, in order to keep the house safe from flooding. There was also an elevator inside the house, to carry them up from the garage where they parked their car. The kitchen was massive, and the living room had twenty-foot tall ceilings. There was also a really wide deck that looked out on the water, which was good for sunset. It was pretty cool to see such a rich home, because I’d never really been in one before. I’ve been there more than once, since I got the opportunity to go back and visit a few years later during a family reunion, actually.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. What are some of the housing problems that exist in your country?

The USA actually has some pretty big housing issues. Many people, due to a stroke of bad luck, end up homeless. When they’re homeless, their only recourse is to head to a homeless shelter. But if those run out of space, then they must sleep on the streets.

  1. What is the government doing to try to solve these problems?

The government does fund a few homeless shelters, but not nearly enough to address the severity of the problem. Many men, women and children in America have nowhere to go at night. The problem is that many people in the government do not think that spending money on “welfare” or public assistance programs is a good use of a country’s money.

  1. In cities in your country, are there many people who do not have a place to live? (homeless people)

I’m not sure about the exact number, but the figure of homeless people in America is high enough to scare you and make you realize you could possibly become homeless yourself one day.

  1. Do you think the prices of homes in your country are too expensive for the average person?

Housing prices are not necessarily too high in the US, but I think that the problem is that many people can only afford to live in a very tiny home which is very far away from where they would like to live. Conveniently-located housing is very difficult to find for a cheap price.

  1. Do you think the government should help low-income people buy a home? [Why? How?/Why not?]

The government does assist people with home loans, which is a good thing for them to do. Those loans end up becoming cheaper to pay back than a loan from the bank, which have incredibly high interest rates.