Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer

Dreyer’s English

A witty, informative guide to writing "good English" from Random House's longtime copy chief and one of Twitter's leading enforcers of proper grammar--a twenty-first-century Elements of Style. As authoritative as it is amusing, this book distills everything Benjamin Dreyer has learned from the hundreds of books he has copyedited, including works by Elizabeth Strout, E. L. Doctorow, and Frank Rich, into a useful guide not just for w...

Details Dreyer’s English

TitleDreyer’s English
Release DateJan 29th, 2019
PublisherRandom House
GenreNonfiction, Language, Writing, Reference, Humanities, Books About Books

Reviews Dreyer’s English

  • Trish
    I just love this book. When I first heard Terry Gross interviewing Dreyer on NPR’s Fresh Air, I thought he was trying too hard to make amusing something that can be utterly stultifying. However, when I had the chance to listen to Dreyer reading the book, published by Penguin Random House Audio, I was entranced and delighted. How can this be, you ask. It is simply perverse and counterintuitive that reading a style book on writing would be amusin...
  • Julie Ehlers
    As a copy editor myself and a big fan of Benjamin Dreyer's Twitter presence, I was dying to get my hands on this book, and it did not disappoint. Not only is this book funny and fun to read, it's so, so helpful for anyone seeking to improve their writing or editing skills. I've been in this business for nearly 25 years and didn't think I'd actually learn anything new from Dreyer's English, but I was astonished to realize there were a few things I...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    If you think I am not the kind of person to read a style guide, you are correct! I do not read them for fun or pleasure, and I try to avoid them even for professional growth. But I knew this one would be different as I've followed Dreyer on Twitter for several years (and he also follows me, full disclosure). I had enough of a hunch that it would be a true delight that I even read the AUDIOBOOK. Yes, that is correct. I read a style guide on audio....
  • Jeff Zentner
    What if I told you that there’s a style guide written in such an effervescent, wry, witty, engaging voice, that you would want to read it on the beach? What if I told you that it was so expertly written, you can’t help but be a better writer for having read it? Dear reader, you are in luck. This is that magical book. This deserves a place next to Strunk & White on every shelf.
  • Joe Gaspard
    Come for the text, but stay for the footnotes. This is a witty and informative guide to copy editing. I might have thought that a copy editor would be hidebound, with a guide that tells you what is always right and what is always wrong. Dreyer is more open to what others might consider "wrong" (such as "liaise" as a verb), though he can still be very much peeved by "impact" used instead of "affect". Grammar, punctuation, formatting, and word choi...
  • Rawan
    I love books about books (Kory Stamper's Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries was one of my favorite books of 2017) and books about writing, so it's no surprise that when I saw the description for this book, I was incredibly excited to read it. A reference book by one of Twitter's leading language gurus? Right up my alley. This is a handy little guide to writing that would make the perfect gift for any copy editor, grammarian, lover of l...
  • Ana
    If you think that a list of “Confusables” or “Notes on Proper Noun” would be a boring thing to read, you’d be wrong: “DAMMITIt’s not ‘damnit,’ goddammit and damn it all to hell, and I wish people would knock it off already.”or“GUNS N’ ROSESThat the name of this band is not Guns ’n’ Roses is vexing, but so, I suppose, is being named Axl, much less Slash.”“KEANU REEVESStar of Bill & Ted comedies, Matrix uncomedies, a...
  • Sonya
    Delightful witty fun. (Delightful, witty fun.) (Delightful—witty—fun.) (Delightful; witty fun.)
  • Mal Warwick
    Quick quiz: How many of the following rules do you follow when you write?Never begin a sentence with "and" or "but."Never split an infinitive.Never end a sentence with a preposition.Contractions aren't allowed in formal writing.The passive voice is to be avoided.Sentence fragments are bad.A person must be a "who," not a "that.""None" is singular and, dammit, only singular."Whether" must never be accompanied by "or not."Never introduce a list with...
  • Bud Smith
    Enjoyed this. It’s written in the voice of Fraiser Crane’s little brother, Niles.
  • Olivia
    How to use the English language properly, infused with a lot of humour, written by the copy chief of Random House.
  • Evgenia
    Before reading my review, it’s only fair that you know a little something about me: I’m the type of person who early one morning (as in, 7:05 A.M. early) texted a copy editor friend asking whether to use “object” or “subject” in a sentence, and then debated the point for the remainder of an otherwise not unbusy day. That is to say, my idea of fun is not everyone’s idea of fun; I perk up when I hear a discussion on language whereas m...
  • Robin
    This is the first book on grammar and style I've ever read cover to cover, and I found it informative and highly entertaining. I found myself laughing over Dreyer's snarky wit and his keen look at today's language "rules" had me taking notes. His writing style, use of footnotes, and snarky wit reminded me of Mary Roach's books and I believe Bill Bryson fans will also enjoy.Everyone who does any writing (even if it's nothing but an annual holiday ...
  • Kay (aka) Miss Bates
    I’ve never read a writing style guide in my life. I once tried to read Strunk and White: ho-hum. ‘Sides, I thought S&T advocated a spare style and I happen to think that, except for tires in real life and heirs in romance, spares should be avoided at all costs. Instead, what I found in Dreyer’s was a fount of delight and—pah to erudition—pragmatic advice. His lessons stick: before writing this, I made sure I knew the difference between ...
  • Conor
    What a treat this was! I can't give it five stars because c'mon: it's a book about usage, and fully 1/3 of it is devoted to humorous instructions that are nevertheless admonitions about how not to misspell and mix up words. Dreyer is as clever as he is imperious, officious and cocksure. To be certain, I was listening to this on audiobook, which can often feel like a one-way conversation, but one gets the impression that it would be no different--...
  • Trin
    Well! I have a new favorite grammar/style guide. Dreyer's English is friendly, approachable, amusing; I read it for fun -- yes, I am that person, no one is shocked -- but I think it would also be highly useful and useable. I love that Dreyer's approach to grammar is, like mine, self-taught and not terminology heavy, but rather based on rhythm, sound, and experience -- much, much more experience, in his case. There are things that still mess me up...
  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    Delightful. Elucidating. A great read and a great reference.The sideswipes at the forty-fifth president (who is never named) and his progeny (one of whom is) are subversively amusing; the anti-Brit ones slightly less so, if only because -- as a Canadian and a copy editor -- I need to use a weird amalgam of British and U.S. usage / spelling / punctuation / capitalization etc., including spaces before and after em dashes containing non-parenthetica...
  • Erin
    This was a DELIGHT. If you're a giant word nerd, "Dreyer's English" is a must-read. (It's so good it had me pause to think about that hyphen before, during, and after I typed it.) It's rare that I laugh out loud while reading, and it hasn't happened with non-fiction (let alone a book about copyediting) since "Eats, Shoots & Leaves." I like to think I have a firm grasp on the language and writing and editing, but I still learned so much while read...
  • Linda
    I love books like this and this one didn't disappoint. Grammatically correct with wit, sometimes causing me to have to re-read to understand.After this, I'm going to put my grammar police badge in a drawer. I know I'm not alone and don't have to police the entire language.
  • Nooilforpacifists
    The first two chapters were excellent — a bit like “Confessions of a Comma Queen,” only with the proportions flipped: about 3/4th grammar and 1/4 personal. Yet by Chapter three, when Dreyer stafted what could have been interesting supplements to Strunk and White, he populates his examples with texts such as “I 100 percent made [this] up out of thin air and didn’t find on, say, Twitter”. Dryer takes particular glee correcting the tweet...
  • Victoria
    Thanks to Random House and Goodreads for the ARC of this upcoming title. I loved it! Witty and useful (I almost said very witty, but I’m trying to cull my use of that overused word, as recommended by the author). I plan on buying a hard copy on publication and adding it to my reference library but it’s much more than a reference book. Recommended for anyone who cares about words.
  • Ivan
    Random House’s copy chief offers a witty guide to writing. Copyeditors are my favorite kind of curmudgeons.
  • Sue
    I REALLY loved this book, and IN FACT, I spent a RATHER wonderful few days in a PRETTY arcane universe. Mr. Dreyer would tell me to eliminate the capitalized letters, and ACTUALLY he would be right. Thus begins the first page and the first lesson in prose that is not only correct but inviting.Benjamin Dreyer has had a long career in copy editing, and Dreyer’s English immerses the reader in his world of language. Gentle conversational admonition...
  • Liina Bachmann
    This is the only book you need to read to get rid of those high school nightmares of grammar jargon, exceptions to a rule (always!) and just any bad stylistic writing errors you're prone to. "Dreyer's English" will make you laugh out loud and make you curious about Shirley Jackson as well. Highly, highly recommended.
  • Andrew Careaga
    Copy editors are a curious lot. They're also a rare lot these days, especially at newspapers and other media outlets that have slashed and burned through editorial staffers in recent years. So it's probably a good thing that Benjamin Dreyer, a "copy chief" (presumably the leader of a tribe of copy editors) at book publisher Random House, created this compendium of editorial style, grammar guidelines and miscellaneous wordy things for those of us ...
  • Stjepan Krešimir Kračun
    This is definitely one of the most amusing books about English language that I've ever read.Since the book is more about writing style than anything else - I feel that Dreyer could have just written a book about e.g. different kinds of canaries in American households - and just the text alone is enough to infuse the reader with a sense of how to make a text in English read and sound well.I really appreciate how well the Dreyer managed to write su...
  • Mahin
    Whenever I speak with someone, I resist the compulsion to count his grammatical errors on one hand. I am that person who insists it's 'nauseated' not 'nauseous'. And I am that person who will tell you 'choate' and 'flammable' are major no-nos. In short, it may seem that someone who is a stickler for grammar and a self-professed Spelling Bee queen to buy a style guide; but I think it makes perfect sense. When one views a language as merely mathema...
  • Pedro
    Dreyer’s English: An Gratingly Unfunny Guide to Clarity and StyleI love reading these style guides (it makes me feel superior to people who don't care about writing correctly), but Benjamin Dreyer can't write one measly paragraph without some kind of snarky joke. And Benjamin Dreyer is not a funny person.
  • Susan
    What kind of nut finds a grammar book thrilling and page-turning? Me. This nut. I am now an avowed Dreyerist.
  • Tanya Gold
    This is one of the books that I wish I'd had when I first started copyediting.