Photo Errors — and Apostrophes

Blogger has been a bit strange over the past few days, and I currently cannot post pictures.

Instead, here is something that’s been bothering me for a while.

I do a lot of work in Vegas, and it always drives me crazy whenever I send someone to Celine Dion or PURE Nightclub. Why? Because I inevitably have to type “Caesars Palace!”

There is no apostrophe.

It just hurts me to look at that!

I did a bit of digging, and I came across something that I didn’t expect:

Originally named Cabana Palace, then Desert Palace, the hotel officially opened its doors as Caesars Palace in 1966. The name change and design were decided upon to create a world where everyone could be treated as an emperor, a palace for all Caesars – hence no apostrophe in the name.


Well, it this is the place for all Caesars, then shouldn’t it be Caesars’ Palace?

Or even Caesar Palace?

The first option would have been perfect; the second, mediocre but passable. And yet these Vegas executives chose to use the one incorrect form.

Not only that, but it seems like Emperors’ Palace is the name that they should have had. Caesar (and his progeny) were people who just happened to have the name Caesar, and who also happened to be emperors.

Their goal was for everyone to be an emperor, not for everyone to be Caesar!

This isn’t it. Another one that bothers me is Surfers Paradise, a beach resort in Queensland, Australia. It’s the same deal as Caesars Palace — they could have used an apostrophe, but no!

There’s another one, but I can’t think of it. Can you think of any others?


13 responses to “Photo Errors — and Apostrophes

  1. I am a member of CTA, California Teachers Association. No apostrophe.
    Apparently, when the word is used as an adjective, not a possessive,there is no apostrophe. Who knew?

  2. I think this the same issue discussed back in the Tufts street sign post.

    If it is a place for Caesars (or emperors), but not belonging to them, then I agree with the comment above regarding the attributive. We can test for this by substituting a plural that doesn’t end with s:

    Geese Palace, Women Palace, Mice Palace

    They do all sound weird, but not totally implausible. If the noun was anything other than “palace” would it seem more correct?

    Geese Theater, Women Hall, Mice Cafeteria

    The CMS allows omitting the apostrophe when there is “clearly no possessive meaning,” but I think most other guides are reluctant to let the apostrophe go. What does the AP Stylebook have to say?

    P.S. – I would avoid meals at “Mice Cafeteria” and watch my step in “Geese Theater” if I were you!

  3. Caesar and his progeny were not people who happened to be named Caesar. Rather, the term caesar is a title or form of address for a Roman emperor. Therefore, Caesars Palace makes perfect sense. Additionally, both AP and CMS omit the apostrophe in all cases you’ve cited, as they are attributive, not possessive. As stated above, it’s a palace for caesars but does not belong to them. Another example would be the trade magazine Publishers Weekly, which does not have an apostrophe.

  4. I like you blog! I did find a typo on it. Around line 15 from the top you have the following sentance.
    “Well, it this is the place for all Caesars, then shouldn’t it be Caesars’ Palace?” I believe you menat to say this, “Well, if this is the place for all Caesars, then shouldn’t it be Caesars’ Palace? Replace the “it” with “if”.

  5. Caesar is definitely not the name of the people who ruled Rome. This is evident in the Russian title for their leaders, Czar (or sometimes Tzar, Tsar, Zar, or Csar). This title is derived from “Caesar” and meant Emperor in the European medieval sense of the term, i.e., a ruler who has the same rank as a Roman or Byzantine emperor.

    P.S. You should really invest in a Chicago Manual of Style. Even if AP is your preferred style guide, it is hard to argue the fact that it could possibly cover everything when it is a mere pamphlet compared to the dictionary-esque tome that is the CMS.

  6. We could make it a true adjective, “caesarean.” As in Caesarean Palace. In incision is made in your wallet in order to perform an easy and painless cashectomy.

  7. I’m sorry; this is frustrating me. “Caesar” does not just happen to mean “Emperor” without any relation to the fact that the first emperor of Rome was Octavius Caesar, who became Augustus Caesar. Octavius was the grandson of Julius Caesar. Caesar *was* their familial name, and it did not mean Emperor.

    The first few emperors actually were of this family but eventually emperors starting attaching the name “Caesar” to their own to legitimize their claim to the throne. The name therefore became a title, rather than a surname and it’s the root of “tsar,” as others have noted, and of “kaiser” as well.

    I think Caesars Palace makes sense, actually, if you think of the word as plural non-possessive.

  8. Whoops, correction: Julius Caesar was Octavius’ great-uncle, not his grandfather.

    I was going to type “Octavius Caesar’s,” but I wanted to show off that I’ve read the first rule in The Elements of Style.

  9. I saw that type, also. I am pretty sure you meant to say “Well,if this is a place for Caesars…”

    While I am at it, Anonymous probably meant to say “I like your blog!” I agree with him/her either way it’s spelled.

  10. Irene, anonymous, it’s not usually a good idea to contradict Kate without doing a great deal of research first! She and Jennifer are absolutely correct. “Caesar” and “emperor” are not synonymous; the latin word for “emperor” was (is?) “imperator”, from which we derive such words as “imperative”.

    Kate, wouldn’t “Queensland” itself count as a ‘missing apostrophe’ proper noun, or is that being just a shade too pedantic? 😉

    More to the point, there must be dozens of pubs and inns in the UK with names such as ‘The Queens Head’, ‘The Boars Head’, ‘The Coachmakers Arms’, ‘The Carpenters Arms’, etcetera, etcetera ad nauseum, very few of which display an apostrophe. Maybe the vaunted ‘original home of the english language’ is, at root, responsible for the creeping misuse or non-use of the apostrophe? 😦

  11. Yes, the title of caesar did originally come from the Caesar line. However, today, which is not ancient Rome, caesar is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “used as a title and form of address for Roman emperors.” While I was mistaken in the etymology of the word caesar, I never claimed that emperor and caesar were synonymous. Rather I said that caesar is a term for a Roman emperor, which is correct. The claim that “Caesars” throughout history were just people who happened to be named Caesar is incorrect as caesar became a title in and of itself, regardless of lineage. Given that Caesars Palace invokes ancient Roman in its architecture and decor, the name is completely appropriate.

    As this is a grammar blog and not an etymology blog, the root of the word caesar is not the main point. I took issue with the assertion that Caesars Palace should have an apostrophe because both AP and CMS say otherwise. This constant insistence that every modifying plural should have an apostrophe shows a gross lack of understanding of the difference between attributive and possessive adjectives.

  12. I do not want to eat at Mice Cafeteria.

  13. For another opinion on Mice Cafeteria, read Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat.

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