Solving non-binary constraint satisfaction problems, a crucial challenge today, can be tackled in two different ways: translating the non-binary problem into an equivalent binary one, or extending binary search algorithms to solve directly the original problem. The latter option raises some issues when we want to extend definitions written for the binary case. This paper focuses on the well-known forward checking algorithm, and shows that it can be generalized to several non-binary versions, all fitting its binary definition. The classical non-binary version, proposed by Van Hentenryck, is only one of these generalizations. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.