Grammar Guru Banishes The Exclamation Mark In New Grammar Bible

Benjamin Dreyer shares his decades of language experience in his new book, "Dryer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style."
Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Benjamin Dreyer (@BCDreyerhas dedicated his life to grammar. As the vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief at Random House, he’s helped dozens of authors fine turn their work. His new book “Dryer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style” shares his decades of language experience. The book is packed with rules, observations, examples, advice, and enough anecdotes to make Dreyer’s English read like a novel. He joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to talk about the do’s and don’ts of writing.

Book Excerpt: ‘Dryer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style’

By Benjamin Dreyer

I have nothing against rules. They’re indispensable when playing Monopoly or gin rummy, and their observance can go a long way toward improving a ride on the subway. The rule of law? Big fan.

The English language, though, is not so easily ruled and regulated. It developed without codification, sucking up new constructions and vocabulary every time some foreigner set foot on the British Isles—­to say nothing of the mischief we Americans have wreaked on it these last

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR5 min read
Portraying Celia: The Role Of A Lifetime (Or Two)
How do you inhabit the world's most well-known Latin singer? For singers and actresses Aymée Nuviola and Jeimy Osorio, playing Celia Cruz meant staying in touch with pain, joy and destiny.
NPR2 min read
For A Black Woman In The Military, Harassment Was Its Own Battle
At StoryCorps, retired Col. Denise Baken says the challenges she faced as both a woman and an African American in the Army weighed her down over time, mentally and physically.
NPR3 min read
'A Cosmology Of Monsters' Blends Freaky Frights And Family Feels
Shaun Hamill's new novel uses the lens of horror to examine the ways we interact and fail to interact with each other, and the way a family can be held together by the very things that tear it apart.