DIY or Have Something Done?

This material is presented to practise using vocabulary and grammar relevant to DIY and household repairs.

Questions to get started

  • Are there any repairs, decorating, renovation, building or electrical jobs that need to be done in your home?
  • What do you plan to do about them?
  • What is DIY?
  • Do you enjoy doing DIY?
  • Do you have any tools in your house?
  • What are the benefits of doing DIY?
  • What are the benefits of paying a professional to do work for you?
  • have you ever had a DIY disaster?

Vocabulary for DIY and tools.

This short video presents a lot of really useful vocabulary related to tools.

This video gives some more advanced vocabulary related to products on sale in a hardware shop.

Have you ever done any of these things?

  1. Assembling and Installing:
    • Have you ever assembled furniture by yourself? What was the most challenging part?
    • Can you describe a time when you had to install something at home? What was it, and how did it go?
  2. Measuring and Cutting:
    • When was the last time you had to measure something accurately for a DIY project? How did you ensure precision?
    • Share an experience where you needed to cut materials for a project. How did you approach it?
  3. Fixing and Repairing:
    • Describe a situation where you had to fix something at home. What tools did you use, and how successful were you?
    • Have you ever had to repair a household appliance? How did you go about it?
  4. Painting and Finishing:
    • What was the last thing you painted at home, and why? How did you choose the color?
    • Have you ever stained or finished wood? Share your experience.
  5. Attaching and Securing:
    • Talk about a project where you had to attach different parts together. What techniques did you use?
    • How do you usually secure heavy objects to the walls in your home?
  6. Plumbing and Leveling:
    • Have you ever tried plumbing work at home? What was the outcome?
    • When hanging pictures or shelves, how do you ensure they are level?
  7. Demolishing and Rebuilding:
    • Share a story about a time when you had to demolish something in your home. Why did you decide to do so?
    • If you were to rebuild a room in your house, what changes would you make?
  8. Sealing and Grouting:
    • Discuss a project where you needed to seal gaps or cracks. What materials did you use?
    • Have you ever tiled a space and needed to grout? How did you find the experience?

Have something done

We quite often use the expression have something done to describe when we pay a professional to do something for us. Watch this video and answer the questions below to check your comprehension.

This is a sentence component order exercise to practise using the form “have something done” by ordering the components of a sentence. It is part of a complete lesson on causative have and get in our free upper-intermediate English course.

Order the components from top to bottom to make coherent sentences that follow the form of “have / get something done”

When you have finished, click “Finish” to see your results. If you want to review your answers and the correct solutions, click “View questions”.

Check out these DIY questions.

Some more vocabulary.

And an article to read about DIY skills.

Which of these jobs would you do yourself and which would you pay a professional to do?

  • Paint a wall
  • Paint a whole apartment
  • Plaster a hole in a wall
  • Tile a bathroom
  • Replace a light switch
  • Hang a light
  • Hang curtains
  • Repair a Persian blind / roller blind.
  • Knock down a non load-bearing wall.
  • Install a new kitchen.
  • Rewire your home’s electrical system.

Have you ever paid a professional to do some work for you and been disappointed?

Idioms from DIY

What do the following expressions mean? Read these idioms and expressions related to DIY and decide what you think they mean.

  • To hit the nail on the head.
  • Like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
  • Money for old rope.
  • to get hammered.
  • To nail something.
  • To lose the thread.
  • An old flame.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • to paint yourself into a corner.
  • Nail it down.
  • Off the hinges.
  • Cutting-edge technology.
  • To come out of the woodwork.
  • to throw a spanner in the works.
  • To turn the screw
  • To paint the town red.
  • To go back to the drawing board.
  • to build bridges.
  • to cut corners.
  • To hammer something out.
  • To lay the groundwork.
  • To be under the hammer.

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