Is it possible to say Ils visiteront chez lui to convey the meaning They will visit his house?

If it is wrong to use chez lui that way,

  1. is this counted as a grammatical mistake?

  2. would a French person understand what I mean?

Edit: Here is the link that made me ask this question.

  • That is a famous artist. They will visit his house. C'est un artiste très connu. Ils visiteront sa maison. In that sense, OK.
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:46
  • It is extremely difficult to answer questions about what a person hears another say in a language that is not their native language. I know tons of people who get by in everyday life with really ratty English (for a number of reasons) but they could do with some help to make their English more idiomatic. It's hard enough sometimes to understand native speakers....
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 20:05
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    @Lambie Did I suggest they do? Related
    – jlliagre
    Oct 5, 2021 at 21:34
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    @Lambie I don't reject your answer. I didn't downvoted it. I wrote it is mostly true. I quote you in my reply saying you were right saying museums are visités in French, not houses. Who cares about shun, this is FSE. The question is about a queen and a king visiting someone's house and you talk about a realtor, seriously? I provided useful links to questions related to the usage of visiter in French. You replied with a rude and inappropriate comment. Am I the one creating issues?
    – jlliagre
    Oct 5, 2021 at 23:30

4 Answers 4


The other answers don't mention the most important points. You cannot use it alone or at least not outside of colloquial speech. The reason "ils visiteront chez lui" is not used alone is because "chez" is a special preposition, which has the particularity of meaning "at or in [his home]" depending where it's used. This means that the action of "visiter" is made at his house, but you don't know what is visited. This would be equivalent to "They will visit at his house". The effect is the same in French (it might stand out a bit less due to the confusing nature of "chez").

Disclaimer: This part might be only applicable to Quebec and Africa according to Larousse: "En Afrique et au Québec, rendre visite à quelqu'un, aller le voir : Elle est allée visiter sa grand-mère." But I have a feeling this isn't exclusive to us considering the answer of @LPH showing many examples where visiting someone is acceptable.

According to my explanation, you would expect the same construction in French: "Ils visiteront sa maison". Note here that visiting a place, like a house, imply that you will visit as in some sort of tour. If you want to visit people, you will specify it. I expect the same kind of logic in English.

If you add an object, the form is now possible. "They will visit Bob at his house". This would translate to "Ils visiteront Bob chez lui". You can also use a pronoun in this case: "Ils le visiteront chez lui". Notice how a simple "le" can change a lot.

The answer to both of your questions is yes. It is ungrammatical but people will easily understand what you mean. Even some French people might use it because technically, this preposition is special and confusing since it implies "home" in the mix.

  • Very well put. Thank you. Bear in mind though in English: They will visit his house. sounds like a real estate agent taking people to see it or that the house is a museum. The verbs may have the same meaning but rendre visite à in English is just visit, not pay a visit. That is my only difference of opinion here.
    – Lambie
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:49
  • @Lambie "Je vais rendre visite à Marie" and "I will pay a visit to Marie" is the exact same thing. "Ils vont visiter sa maison" and "They will visit his house" is the exact same thing. This is why I'm saying that it's irrelevant to the question. The question is about "visiter chez lui" vs. "visit his house". The fact that you're confused is why I think the other answers are misleading.
    – Simon
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:59
  • Je vais rendre visite à Marie can just be: I will visit Marie. It is a false equivalence to say that rendre visit must be pay a visit. It doesn't.
    – Lambie
    Oct 6, 2021 at 18:01
  • @Lambie "Je vais rendre visite à Marie" actually can be "Je vais visiter Marie" just like in English... Now the real question is, can "visit his house" in English be used as "visit him"? According to your first comment, it can't and it sounds like a house tour, which would confirm my first statement, that they're equivalent.
    – Simon
    Oct 6, 2021 at 21:20
  • No, "visit his house"" cannot mean "visit him". That is precisely my entire point.
    – Lambie
    Oct 6, 2021 at 22:46

Yes, this is possible, but only when you want to make precise that the people you are visiting are being visited in a particular place, which can even be their own place. However, there must be an object, as in the ssentences shown below. Otherwise this is meaningless: it does not convey the meaning of "they will make an inspection of the house", which is said as follows: "il feront une visite chez lui", "il feront une visite de son habitation", ….

The following examples are issued from this Google page, on which you'll find plenty more.

  • de pauvres hères qui assiègent nos dispensaires , nos hôpitaux , que d'admirables Françaises visitent chez eux ..

  • profitant de leur sortie de chaque dimanche , visitent chez elles des familles pauvres du quartier Mouffetard et leur distribuent des bons de pain .

  • elles se partagent les enfants , les visitent chez leurs parents , chez leurs maitresses et chez les seurs , et présentent au Conseil un rapport sur la

  • Vendredi 25 juillet 2008 Nous avons décidé de consacrer ce vendredi à la réception d'amis qui nous visitent chez Christine.

Normally, the specification is not included and you use simply the following verbal expressions which have the same meaning.

  • visiter, rendre visite à, faire une visite à


  • (ref. 2021) Parfois, je la visite juste pour la saluer et m'assurer qu'elle est bien. Nous allons aussi visiter l'entrepôt de Daniel qui est dans le domaine de la ...

  • (ref. 2014) A l'époque où j'accomplissais mon service militaire, ma mère, qui s'était remariée, avait suivi son second mari en Espagne, où je la visite chaque été.

  • (ref. 2001) Je le visite pour lui présenter des condoléances pour la mort du fonctionnaire du troisième rang [ Fujiwara no ] Michimoto

  • (ref. 2007) Il n'en parle pas, pourtant il a visité ses parents. Il est tellement plein de ses préoccupations religieuses et missionnaires qu'elles seules font le sujet .

You can see from the following ngram that "visit" is used much less than "rendre visite" ; however, both forms are fully idiomatic, and you can use whichever you want.

enter image description here

Addition prompted by a comment from user Xfce4

Le roi et la reine visiteront notre maison et nous visiterons leur château.

As modern French, this phrasing is puzzling on account of the likely breach from reality that can be read into it or on account of the particular use of "visit". A king and queen might visit a great house (in the sense of visiting a museum), and it would have to be quite an impressive house, but excepting this possibility of greatness, what remains is only the eventuality of paying a visit to somebody, which is conceivable in the context of sovereigns feeling honour bound to show a certain consideration to some of their subjects (meritorious ones, for instance), but then the verb is wrong. So the sentence is acceptable in the "museum" context; otherwise, I would rephrase it as shown below.

  • Le roi et la reine nous visiteront chez nous et nous les visiterons dans leur château. ("chez nous" rather than "dans notre maison" or "à la maison" because of a felt greater idiomaticity, hard to define and possibly a mere personal impression; nevertheless, the other choices are acceptable, I think.)
  • We don't "make precise". préciser is to specify or be specific. Specification is not the right word here. Specifying is not included. You simply use (not "use simply:" which has a different meaning). Rendre visite and visiter are not the same thing exactly the same thing and their usage is specific.
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 23:12
  • @Lambie ex.: Trying to make precise that which is merely implied and indeterminate runs the hazard that the result (google.com/…). I agree that "be specific about" is fine and possibly more elegant, but "make precise" is correct. // I don't believe either that "specification" is incorrect; here is the SOED definition: 1c A specified item, a detail, etc.. What else if not a detail is this fact that the visit occurs in a given place? // (1/3)
    – LPH
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:18
  • @Lambie Your use of "simply" is perhaps an option. However, here are examples from the books, and you can check them: You could also use simply lab plus x for laboratory instead of labo.Now , those officers have been trained up to use simply a certain type of weaponmany researchers and some writers about effect sizes have come to use simply d to denote Cohen's variance-poolingLeonard and Mokhtari use simply the upwind value 5Φ =ΦUnix/ Linux systems, and Windows in text mode, use simply "\n". (2/3)
    – LPH
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:18
  • @Lambie • (course) _ you can use simply powdered sugar // Your last remark is also wrong: those two verbal forms are synonymous. Check this: "rendre visite (v. trans.) (transitif indirect : à) aller voir, passer, venir voir, rendre une visite (V+à+qqn), visiter (V+qqn)". (dictionnaire.sensagent.leparisien.fr/rendre%20visite/fr-fr) // One more time, all your suppositions have not been verified and they are all wrong.( 3/3)
    – LPH
    Oct 6, 2021 at 13:20
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    @Xfce4 My reply to your comment is in my answer, as an addition I just made.
    – LPH
    Oct 7, 2021 at 5:28

Is it possible to say "Ils visiteront chez lui" to convey the meaning "They will visit his house"?

Suivant le sens qu'on donne à they will visit his house, ça peut être possible mais c'est très peu idiomatique.

Si on parle du roi et de la reine comme dans la phrase de Duolinguo (The king and the queen will visit our house, and we will visit their castle), la traduction « ils visiteront sa maison » proposée par duolinguo est bien plus naturelle que « ils visiterons chez lui ». Il n'en reste pas moins que la phrase est curieuse car comme l'a justement écrit Lambie, ce sont les musées ou les châteaux qui se visitent, pas une maison ordinaire. On ne sait pas trop si le sens attendu n'est pas plutôt, « ils vont nous rendre visite dans notre maison et ensuite, nous irons visiter leur château » même si ni visit our house ni « visiter sa maison » n'impliquent la présence de ceux qui y résident.

« Visiter » peut avoir certains sens qui peuvent rendre moins improbable cette expression en français, mais encore plus éloignés de la vie de tous les jours d'un couple royal.

B. - 2. a) Examiner à fond et méthodiquement un lieu, un objet (appareil, document, installation, bagage à la douane, etc.) Synonyme contrôler, inspecter, vérifier.

qui permet (source) :

Alors je m'explique, la police m'a rendu visite alerté par un de mes voisin qui m'aurai balancé. Bref, ils ont visité chez moi (un studio de 30m² à Paris) on en a vite fait le tour...

Un autre sens:

B. - 2. c) Familier Examiner, fouiller ce qui est susceptible de contenir de l'argent, des objets de valeur; pénétrer dans un lieu par effraction pour y dérober quelque chose. Visiter un appartement, un coffre-fort, un sac à main, un vêtement.

Qui pourrait permettre :

Il y a des cambrioleurs qui circulent dans le quartier. J'ai fait installer un système d'alarme très dissuasif qui empêche de rentrer dans mon jardin parce que je suis sûr que sinon, pendant mes vacances, ils visiteront chez moi.

Il n'en reste pas moins que la phrase « ils visiterons ma maison » reste plus naturelle dans ce cas-là aussi.

  • I really wonder why someone downvoted this answer.
    – Xfce4
    Oct 5, 2021 at 21:51
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    @Xfce4 I have my idea ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Oct 5, 2021 at 21:52
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    @Lambie You clearly misunderstood my reply.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 5, 2021 at 23:33
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    @Lambie Est-ce que j'ai écrit quelque part que c'était une traduction de they will visit their house ? J'explique les rares cas où la phrase de l'OP Ils visiteront chez lui pourrait avoir un sens. Tout le monde est conscient, y compris l'OP, que ça ne traduit pas la phrase They will visit my house dans un contexte où un roi et une reine rendent visite à quelqu'un. En plus, comme tu l'as écrit, ce n'est probablement pas un anglophone donc l'anglais, on s'en fiche un peu ici, c'est le sens de visiter en français qui peut intéresser les lecteurs d'un site consacré à la langue française.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 6, 2021 at 0:21
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    @Xfce4 You're totally right, as specified in my brackets, the correct use would be ma maison in this use case. If you were at your home, the previous sentence would be the correct one. Note that in the familiar language, it's fine to use it, as jlliagre mentioned.
    – Simon
    Oct 7, 2021 at 1:47

rendre visite à quelqu'un: to vist someone

rendre visite à quelqu'un chez lui/elle, etc.

rendre visite [à quelqu'un] à la maison [pas au bureau, donc]

maison is for house, chez lui is more like at home.

"visiter sa maison" as in a museum-type of thing can be, yes: visiter sa maison.

rendre visite

Visiter means to visit a place, such as a city or monument.


Easy enough, right? The problem is that visiter can only be used for inanimate nouns.

When visiting people, the French expression is rendre visite à.

[Bolding mine]

  • Thank you but why do you introduce a new word, i.e rendre? I would like to know what Ils visiteront chez lui means exactly.
    – Xfce4
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:27
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    @Xfce4 If you visit a person, the French is rendre visite à. Languages don't have word-for-word equivalences. You have to work with the meaning, not the individual words.
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:33
  • Here is the original case forum.duolingo.com/comment/32832064. This is why I shun rendre.
    – Xfce4
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:37
  • @Xfce4 I do not want to enter into an entire discussion here. I have given you what they say in France for visit people and cannot do better. I also gave you the difference between at home, at the house and at the office. The only French person in that link says the same thing as I just did. Ils visiteront chez lui sounds like an American or other English speaker trying to speak French and getting it wrong. Cheers.
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:45
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    @Xfce4 No, of course not. That is not idiomatic in French for any of this. Please just use my answer as a guide....
    – Lambie
    Oct 5, 2021 at 19:55

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