Dreyer’s English

By Kay Gardiner
June 22, 2019
Field Guide No. 11 is here, and we will be knitting socks all summer long.

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25 Comments
  • “Fresh Air” interviewed Benajmin Dreyer in February of this year and is all over NPR …

    • oops – and Dreyer is all over NPR

  • My son gave me this book and I’m really enjoying it!

  • I have a grammar crush on Benjamin Dreyer.

    • Seconded(I think that’s a word…)!

  • Thank you…
    Y’all are the balm my craftsy wordsy thinksy mind craves and needs after a week of …Everything.
    Preet Bharara rocks.

    • Well said!

  • I did not realize Benjamin Dreyer had recorded this as an audiobook – thank you! I have just placed a hold on my regional interlibrary loan system, and since there are two(!) copies in the system, the wait is only 8 weeks. Something to look forward to for late-August knitting 🙂 I enjoy thinking about words and the fluidity of language, and am sometimes surprised (or embarrassed) to discover a rigidity in my own attitude about a word or phrase – which happened when I was involved in a friendly twitter disagreement with an editor in one of BD’s twitter threads. It got me thinking…I had been arguing a position which, when examined, really had no value to me. I mulled it over and discovered it was rooted in a conversation I had had with a secretary at a research facility where I worked in the early 90s. She was annoyed by a scientist’s loose use of the term in a paper she was typing (on a typewriter – she was resisting the new word processing opps), but brought her frustration to me instead of to the male scientist’s attention. (Gosh, I wonder why.) I unconsciously adopted her position out of some sort of pointless sense of solidarity with an underdog. And decades later, found myself defending it in that twitter thread.
    Look how complicated the roots of language usage can be!

    • What a great insight to have! Thanks for sharing that.

  • Actually, tidy writing is just as important as tidy knitting. Edited to read: Tidy writing and tidy knitting are both important.

    • Yes!

  • Thank you!

  • WOW! Love this!

  • This post is just the most recent delightful reminder that when I stumbled upon your now-ancient blog a few years ago, I found my people!

  • I saw “ Dreyers” and being half asleep, thought ice cream

  • Placed a hold for the audio book… Sounds great!

  • Yay for Libro, clarity, and good books!

    I may have to finally cast on my sock this weekend….

  • I just put it on hold on my library app. 🙂 English (and history) major here— I love this stuff. 🙂 (Also, for anyone wondering what you can do with those majors— med school, in my case. Just let your college kids do what they love, and the career will follow. Every day when I see patients, I’m using skills of narrative and language that I picked up as an undergrad.)

    • Thank you. I am a professor of Russian, and am quizzed on the “utility” of my field all the time — by students, parents, and colleagues. And I teach at a liberal arts college. A native speaker of English who can learn Russian should be able to learn anything their (do not bust my chops over that pronoun!) future employers ask them to: coding, complex financial data analysis, policy assessments, and the like. It is also just possible that knowing the language and more than a little about Russia’s culture and history could be useful per se.

      I do not know Dreyer’s work, but will remedy that before the summer ends. Thank you!

  • Just finished this. I’m an editor, so it was a must-read. Picked up some interesting tips, but I have to say that his sarcastic humor wore a bit a thin after awhile. By the end, I was kind of glad to be done with this book and happily moved on to something else.

    • Am curious what other similar books you like more. I’m a writing teacher and always interested in what books about copy editing (which is a very different topic than writing) other people find interesting and helpful.

  • Omg. I have loved you all so much, and now to read that you share my love of Preet? I cannot bear it.

  • I loved reading this book in small doses over a few weeks before bed each evening. His voice and tone while writing made me laugh out loud on several occasions. I see myself referring to this work as I write as well as to revisit some other bits and bobs for fun. I am sure that the audio version is delightful as well if it is narrated by Dreyer.

  • I loved this interview as well. It was refreshing, fun and informative. They enjoyed each other’s conversation so much.