I love words and language. I love writing about words and language. I even love reading about words and language, which is why I was so excited to get the notice that my copy of Dryer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style was ready to be sucked into the book hoard cleverly hidden on my tablet. I’d preordered it ages ago, and finally! Joy!
As of this moment, I am only about thirty eight percent done but I have to say: wow. I have never laughed so hard at footnotes before, ever. Ev-er.
Aside from the dry, razor-like wit, the advice is unbeatable
Developed over his years working his way up the editorial chain at Random House, Dreyer’s knowledge is eminently practical and remarkably situational. There are a handful of hard and fast rules, but even they can sometimes have their hearts cut out on the altars of clarity, style, and prettiness on the page–because there’s an art to copy editing, just as there’s an art to writing said copy in the first place: Oxford Comma? Yes, always. Unless, you know, it doesn’t work for this sentence right here and right now.
You would think that 250+ pages of grammatical hijinks would put you into an Oxford coma, but no. This is a delight, and you actually learn things while chuckling at Dreyer’s scathing wit. Just read it, for fuck’s sake. I have to get back to it.