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Let's say I am going to buy a new phone and, say, Apple is the brand of my choice. So which one sounds the most natural?

  1. I am going to buy a phone at Apple.

  2. I am going to buy a phone at Apple's

  3. I am going to buy a phone at an Apple.

  4. I am going to buy a phone at an Apple's.

  5. I am going to buy a phone at an Apple store.

  6. I am going to buy a phone at an Apple's store.

If any of these doesn't sound right, what would a native English speaker say?

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    Apple is my brand of choice is far more idiomatic than Apple is the brand of my choice. Your examples 3, 4, 6 are completely unacceptable. And 2 is a bit "quirky" - we often include that possessive with certain chains (such as Tesco's, Sainsbury's, in the UK), but I've not seen it used with Apple. Jan 16, 2020 at 17:01
  • Sainsbury's is the name of the chain, but Tesco's is really called Tesco. Nobody says Waitroses as far as I know; maybe their customers are too posh. Jan 16, 2020 at 18:28
  • In Australian English too a store, chain or humble shop are often named with an “s” indicating possession. For example, the bookshop formally named, “AW Smith and Sons” becomes “Smith’s” bookshop. Often the apostrophe of possession is dropped, so for example, “MYER” (a very large department store chain, named after Sidney Myer, a Russian immigrant, around 1900) is know to most people as “Myers”. Apple is not a surname and using an apostrophe of possession (Apple’s) just doesn’t work at all. It’s not “Mr Apple’s store”. Jan 18, 2020 at 2:10

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Apple is different from the general rule because it's a company that makes electronic goods (founded 1976, and well known since the 1980s) which later opened a chain of stores (starting in 2001), so the word "Apple" primarily refers to the corporation, not the stores. It's common to refer to "an Apple store" to indicate you're referring to the store rather than something else to do with Apple - "I got it from Apple" could mean you bought it online, while if you heard "I got it from KFC" you'd be more likely assume they went in a restaurant/takeaway (unless they order a lot of food for delivery). It's all about context, and including all information that is necessary while omitting information that could easily be guessed or isn't needed.

You might say "I'm going to get it from the Apple Store" or "I'm going to get it from an Apple Store". The former if there is only one store, or it's assumed you'll go to the nearest one; the latter if there are many stores but you'll choose one for some reason or another, or you don't particularly care which one you go to.

There are different ways of referring to different chains of stores, and it seems to vary from country to country as well. Some stores are referred to with a possessive, like Macy's, Sainsbury's, McDonald's, Walgreen's, etc. Often these look like they're somebody's name. Some other stores aren't referred to like this - a lot of them are initials like KFC, BHS, C&A, etc, but some have other names like Burger King, White Castle, Asda, Walmart, Target, K-Mart, etc. Sometimes there is no consensus or no real logic.

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Of your options, the one that sounds most natural to me is:

I am going to buy a phone at Apple

However, if it were me, I would probably say either:

I am going to buy a phone from Apple

or

I am going to buy a phone at the Apple store

Hope that helps,

Alan.

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