...Mr. Dreyer has a lot of useful information to impart ... One encounters wisdom and good sense on nearly every page of Dreyer’s English. The whole chapter on fiction should be bound and issued to all MFA students. But part of the fun of the book, for me, was silently yelling at Mr. Dreyer on this point or that and writing a big 'NO!' in the margin ... Benjamin Dreyer has a style. It is playful, smart, self-conscious and personal, highlighted by admirable lines ... Sometimes, however, he crosses over into the Land of Twee ... But I’d hold my fire on the rest. After all, it’s his book.
Dreyer himself is a charming, chatty narrator with a soft spot for both digressive footnotes and name-dropping. He dislikes scare quotes and lauds parentheses for their 'conveyance of elbow-nudging joshingness.' He is just persnickety enough ... The emphasis on grammar as a tool for self-expression, not just communication, feels evocative of an era in which online dogmatists periodically go scorched earth on punctuation marks or parts of speech that offend their sensibilities ... Dreyer beckons readers by showing that his rules make prose pleasurable ... His book is in love with the toothsomeness of language. Its sentences capture writing’s physicality ... He takes a tinkerer’s joy in breaking apart syntax and putting it back together. Restrictive clauses are like Legos to him ... Dreyer’s attention to gusto in language use is magical in a way that resists full explication ... For Dreyer to wade into this process with news of pleasure is lovely.
Dreyer, Random House’s longtime copy chief, is funny and charming, delivering a style manual with a great deal of style ... Throughout the proceedings, Dreyer is simultaneously meticulous and unfussy, a winning combination and surely a byproduct of dealing with authorial egos for the better part of his adult life ... Dreyer’s tone is authoritative, yet relaxed and playful, with the presence of teacher that you do not fear, but do fear disappointing ... But beyond the pleasure of Dreyer’s prose and authorial tone, I think there is something else at play with the popularity of his book. To put it as simply as possible, the man cares, and we need people who care right now ... What Benjamin Dreyer provides in Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style is the increasingly rare and refreshing public spectacle of a person caring about their job and doing it well ... Above all, [the book] is personal. Its basis, and the basis of Dreyer’s English, is a lifetime of thinking and caring deeply about something, a lifetime of giving a shit.