French Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the French language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have seen this written two ways:

I am going to the Hendersons'.

Je vais chez Henderson.

Je vais chez les Henderson.

I'm pretty sure but I wanted to clarify. The first one means "I'm going to Henderson's house," while the second one means "I'm going to the Hendersons' house." Am I correct?

share|improve this question
I think no one will give a better answer than yours ;-) – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 12 '12 at 17:21
@StéphaneGimenez I just picked up editing privileges. I feel like I should commemorate the occasion by learning to make the accents. Is there a formatting trick, or do you all just know the alt codes? Also, how do you make the pretty yellow highlighting for examples? – Aerovistae Jul 12 '12 at 18:24
Have a look on French Language Meta to type accentuated characters. As for quotes (yellow highlighting) just put a > at the beginning of the line. – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 12 '12 at 18:39
Perfect, thanks! – Aerovistae Jul 12 '12 at 18:55
@Aerovistae we all have proper keyboards ;) you can try too. – Evpok Jul 12 '12 at 19:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You are right, Aerovistae. You have the correct answer.

Je vais chez Henderson. = you're visiting someone whom you call Henderson
Je vais chez les Henderson. = you're visiting the Hendersons (i.e. the Henderson family)

share|improve this answer

Short way to distinguish these :

« Je vais chez les Henderson. » would mean that you'll visit the Henderson family at their home.

« Je vais chez Henderson. » would mean that you're going to a shop or a store named like that.

share|improve this answer
Je vais chez Henderson peut très bien signifier qu'on va chez quelqu'un sans pour autant aller voir sa famille… – Stéphane Gimenez Jul 12 '12 at 17:17
Bizarrement, je n'utiliserais pas chez pour un magasin, mais plutôt à/au. J'utiliserais chez pour désigner la chaine de magasins en général et à/au pour un magasin particulier. – Bruno Jul 12 '12 at 19:17
@Bruno, ça peut être une question intéressante: on va bien chez Michou ou chez le coiffeur, mais à la pharmacie ou au supermarché. Va-t-on chez Leclerc, à Leclerc ou encore au Leclerc? – mouviciel Jul 23 '12 at 9:33

In general case you are right

  • Chez Henderson means in Henderson's house
  • Chez les Hendersons means at the Hendersons

But chez Henderson could also mean in the Henderson family, mainly for old people. For example

Comment ils vont chez Henderson ?


How are the Hendersons?

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.