180. Benjamin Dreyer (copy chief of Random House) – Really actually truly great English

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There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who don’t give a damn about grammar, style, or syntax, and those who write aggrieved letters to publishing houses about split infinitives.
My guest today, Benjamin Dreyer, is neither. As the Copy Chief of Random House, it is his unenviable task to steer the middle way between linguistic pedantry and letting these writers get away with bloody murder. Scratch “bloody”—redundancy.
Before reading his hilarious and practical new book DREYER’S ENGLISH, I think I would have imagined the Copy Chief of Random House as something like the Arbiter Eligantiae of Ancient Rome—a terrifying, absolute authority on questions of grammatical law and taste. The kind of person who walks around waving a scepter at things to be preserved or destroyed. As the book makes plain, however, there’s no absolute authority when it comes to either taste or correctness in the English language. Still, please avoid “impactful”, “utilize”, and 'very unique.” And use the Oxford comma. And you can do away with just, really, and actually while you’re at it.
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