Actually, I Mean, It’s Very, You Know, Kind Of…* on Life Elsewhere

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Dreyer’s English – An Utterly Correct Guide To Clarity And Style, the new, much-lauded tome from Benjamin Dreyer, Copy Chief at Random House is by any measure a delight to read. This will be no surprise to the fans who lap up his delicious banquet of Tweets. With magician-like skill, he is simultaneously authoritative and droll. It’s a sleight of hand where you never know what he has up his sleeve. Dreyer’s English offers lessons on punctuation, from the underloved semicolon to the enigmatic en dash; the rules and nonrules of grammar, including why it’s OK to begin a sentence with “And” or “But” and to confidently split an infinitive; and why it’s best to avoid the doldrums of the Wan Intensifiers and Throat Clearers,* including “very,” “rather,” “of course,” and the dreaded “actually.” Dreyer will let you know whether “alright” is all right (sometimes) and even help you brush up on your spelling—though, as he notes, “The problem with mnemonic devices is that I can never remember them.”

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