I was working as a copywriter doing a weekly editorial-style newspaper ad for a hotel that is part of a renowned worldwide chain. The hotel had just done some remodeling and wanted to feature its new off-the-lobby luncheon restaurant in an upcoming ad. We were having a meeting to discuss concepts and so on.
Client: We have an international clientele, so we decided to give the restaurant a French name. We’re calling it (writing on the whiteboard) the “Café Royale.”
Me: You should drop the “e” off the end. In French, “café” is masculine, so it should just be (erasing the final “e”) “Café Royal.”
Client: But then it wouldn’t look French. (turning to the general manager) Let’s go with the French spelling. (pauses) The one with the “e” on the end.
The Food & Beverage Manager of this hotel, who was also present at the meeting, was a Frenchman. Later I asked him why he didn’t object. He said, “I’ve long since learned never to try to teach French to Americans.”