Do you write emails, blog posts, or books? Or English papers?
Benjamin Dreyer challenges you to go a week without writing these: very, rather, really, quite, in fact, just.
His book’s title, Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, may make you suspect it is like another lecture from your English teacher. But Dreyer’s entertaining, playful approach will feel more like time with your favorite uncle.
Dreyer, copy chief and managing editor at Random House, presents tips about grammar, punctuation, usage and much more.
What is the best way to judge if your writing is well-constructed? Read it aloud.
Rules are great, but they are meant to be broken. Don’t begin a sentence with “and” or “but.” Avoid contractions in formal writing. No passive voice or sentence fragments. He says there are times when good writers break these rules.
Dreyer believes words are “the flesh, muscle, and bone of prose.” And “punctuation is the breath…a comma sounds different than a semicolon.”
One of my favorite chapters is “The Trimmables,” a long list of redundancies, including “free gift, future plans, absolutely essential.”
Dreyer’s English is fun to read and his examples may make you chuckle while you learn how to improve your writing and editing.