There is an old fairy story, from France I think, about a princess who kisses a frog and he turns out to be a handsome prince. Out of this has developed the adage, 'You have to kiss a lot of frogs, before you find your prince'. In other words you will get what you want if you persist, but getting there might not be that pleasant.

Those of you who read these articles regularly will know we have been house hunting and, despite wonderful descriptions from house agents, and even in many cases great photographs, there are an awful lot of frogs out there – and I’m not referring to French people.

We visited a house recently which was beautifully decorated, but it was supposed to have four bedrooms. When we got upstairs two of the bedrooms had rafters so low you’d need to do a limbo just to get into bed, and I hate to think what would happen if you got up suddenly in the night – an instant KO (knock out). It was such a shame, as it was in the perfect place, just a short walk from shops, the library etc, and most importantly, the boulangerie.  We have a saying in English about what is important when buying a house, location, location, location, but I think health and safety plays a role too.

The agent did however spend considerable time with us, so now he knows exactly what we are looking for, and he may have found it, at a price we can afford no less. We’ll have to wait until we’ve seen it though: let's face it, they never photograph the leaky drains, or the peeling ceiling, nor the huge factory right opposite.

Do you know how to use these house idioms?


  1. A half-way house.

  2. A house of cards.

  3. Not give house room to something / someone.

  4. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

  5. Like a house on fire.

  6. House of ill repute.

  7. A housewarming.

  8. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  9. To darken someone’s door.

  10. To bring the house down.

  11. On the house.


  1.  For free
  2. A brothel
  3. A fragile construction
  4. A great success
  5. Something bad turning up
  6. A party to celebrate moving into new accommodation
  7. You should not criticize other people for having the same faults that you yourself may have
  8. Everyone is very sad
  9. Neither one thing or the other, but something in between
  10. Refuse to become involved
  11. Getting on with someone else really well

You can find the answers in the English forum (Click on the spoiler button for the answer [...]), but if you didn't get them all correct, don't forget to come back in a week and see how good your memory is.


 More building idioms