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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?

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1  
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
2  
@Aerovistae we all have proper keyboards ;) you can try french.typeit.org too. –  Evpok Jul 12 '12 at 19:38

3 Answers 3

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)

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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.

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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 ?

means

How are the Hendersons?

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