Current Issue #478

Book Review: Dreyer’s English

Book Review: Dreyer’s English

Random House managing editor Benjamin Dreyer shares lessons from his 30 year career in words – but ‘grammar Nazi’ he is not.

A charming, footnote-studded guide to writing well. Dreyer is a charming narrator; he writes as though he’s sharing cheeky secrets with you over coffee in a cosy lounge.

Dreyer is vice president, managing editor and copy chief at Random House in New York. His editing career spans three decades and his love of words spans a lifetime. This book brings together the accumulated knowledge – and nitpicking – of that lifetime.

This is the cool cousin to the silly stuffiness of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. No fuddy duddies here. Dreyer is not interested in shame; he’s interested in sharing. A wayward comma? Let him kindly insist where it be placed. He justifies his choices – the rules he adheres to and those he breaks – always with an eye on context. You may not agree with all his points, and he doesn’t mind that, either. “Let’s not fight about it,” he writes. “Or let’s. I win.”

Author: Benjamin Dreyer
Publisher: Random House

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