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?

  • 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? – temporary_user_name 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! – temporary_user_name 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

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)


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?


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.

  • 2
    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

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