Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity
There are many ways to write, but to communicate clearly requires consistency in style. Lucky for readers of Dreyer's English, Benjamin Dreyer, copy chief of Random House, has something more: panache. Although unabashedly opinionated, Dreyer never claims to have all the answers. In fact, he openly discusses instances in which he has come to recognize his own errors over time, and guides readers through the issues he frequently addresses, while conceding much else to higher powers like Merriam-Webster and the Chicago Manual of Style.
The mechanics of writing are consistently fun with Dreyer at the helm. Whether addressing punctuation, spelling, cliché or any number of pitfalls a writer or editor may encounter, he is ready with a sharp, memorable example. Dreyer also makes clear that one can carry peeves and peccadilloes right off a cliff if one isn't careful. In a footnote, he questions a certain magazine's feverish use of diaereses and hyphens: "If you're going to have a house style, try not to have a house style visible from space."
We were pleased that this treatise on language appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List; there's hope for social discourse. Even as language continues to evolve, let's hope Dreyer's English never goes out of style. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness