at their host families' places (or place?)

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erroranalysis

Senior Member
German
Hello!


I'm an English teacher and my students had to write a text on using the Internet during IT lessons. They had to imagine that they were exchange students at a British school. At the British school they attend the headmaster wants to ban using the Internet during IT lessons since too many students surf the Internet instead of doing the tasks their teachers tell them to do.


My students had to write a text in which they had to explain that the Internet was an important part of IT lessons, that the ban on its use wasn't a good idea and that there might be other options to solve that problem.

One of my students wrote:

At school the Internet is free in contrast to using it at their host families' places.

(Host families are the families exchange students usually live with. I know that people in Britain/Ireland are familiar with this term. I am not sure whethere it is used in America too or whether there is an American English term for it.)

By the way, that's not the students original version. Actually it is my correction of his sentence. But by not posting the originial version it is clearer for you. Ignore the fact that using the Internet at school might be as expensive as going online at a host family's place. I'm just interested in whether you have to say:

at their host families' place OR at their host families' places

In my opinion it is at their host families' places since each host family lives in a different place/house/flat.

By using google I found structures that are similiar to the following example:

I sometimes go to one of my sisters' places/to my brothers' places.

Here places is also in the plural and this makes sense, unless the writer's brothers/sisters live in the same house. Then I'd use the singular: I sometimes to go to my sisters'/brothers' place.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    In my opinion it is at their host families' places since each host family lives in a different place/house/flat.
    I think your opinion is correct.
    I am not sure whethere it is used in America too or whether there is an American English term for it.
    I have heard "host families" and nothing else in the U.S.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I agree that "places" seems unusual here. Maybe "homes" would be the more frequent term.
     
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