An English teacher from the Philippines wants to know the difference between errands and chores.
The word errand is most commonly used in the sense of a short journey taken to perform some necessary duty. Some examples of errands are: taking or fetching clothes from the cleaners; taking mail to the post office; filling the car with fuel, taking sacks of leaves to the compost center, etc.
The word errand comes from Old English ærende “message, mission.” The message was usually carried by a servant or low-ranking soldier.
Errand still has the connotation of something of minor importance that can be carried out by anyone. An employee might complain of being “an errand boy” if all he’s allowed to do is unimportant work.
The expression to go on a fool’s errand means to set out to accomplish something that turns out to be impossible to accomplish. Similar to going on fool’s errand is going on a wild goose chase.
A chore can be simply a necessary domestic task such as vacuuming or taking out the garbage, or it can be used in the sense of a really tiresome, time-consuming task.
Here are some examples from the internet of the two meanings of chore.
Chore as household responsibilities
Let’s face it – sometimes, doing your chores can be a drag!
Doing household chores does not have to be boring or a waste of time. If you don’t have time to go to the gym and workout or stay at home and lift weights, you can combine muscle building with doing household chores.
There are many ways to save time doing your daily chores. You can make life easier by staying ahead on things instead of procrastinating. Daily chores include laundry, dishes, sweep, vacuum and mopping. Even washing up your sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms.
Chore as an onerous task
That sure was a chore trying over and over to get you all the actual link.
Washing my toddler’s hair was a chore…moving around causing shampoo and water in eyes and ears…which drove her crazy.
Combined with more explosions than the bombing of Iraq with Michael Bay’s patented swooping camera shots, the film was a chore to watch from beginning to end.