Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dreyer’s English

From a New York Times article about Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style:

Dreyer takes The New Yorker, which he refers to as “a certain magazine,” to task for its infamous insistence on using a dieresis — two dots above a letter — in words with double vowels, like re-elect (“reëlect”) or pre-existing (“preëxisting”). “That certain magazine also refers to adolescents as ‘teen-agers,’” i.e. with the clunky inclusion of a hyphen in there, he writes. “If you’re going to have a house style, try not to have a house style visible from space.”
An Utterly Correct Guide: it’s as if matters of writing are turning into matters of etiquette: which fork word to use. But what’s more interesting to me is that this book appears to be aimed not at “teen-agers” or college students but at an older audience seeking to improve.

[Utterly Correct: yes, tongue in cheek. “The clunky inclusion of a hyphen in there”: delete “in there,” no? Or just “a clunky hyphen”?]

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