Benjamin Dreyer

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Benjamin Dreyer
Benjamin Dreyer.jpg
Dreyer in September 2018
Born (1958-05-11) May 11, 1958 (age 61)
Alma materNorthwestern University
OccupationWriter, copy editor
EmployerRandom House
Known forDreyer's English
TitleVice-president, executive managing editor and copy chief

Benjamin Dreyer (born May 11, 1958) is an American writer and copy editor. He is copy chief at Random House and the author of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style (2019).

Early life[edit]

Dreyer was born May 11, 1958.[1] He grew up in Queens, New York and Albertson, Long Island.[2] He attended Northwestern University.[3]


Early in his career, Dreyer pursued writing[4] and acting.[2] He worked in bars and restaurants before turning to freelance proofreading, then copy editing.[2] In 1993 he joined Random House full time as a production editor.[3] He was promoted from group manager to senior managing editor and copy chief in 2008[5] and now serves as vice-president, executive managing editor and copy chief, at the Random House division of Penguin Random House.[3] Supervising the publication of hundreds of titles a year—The New York Times describes Dreyer's role as "style-arbiter-of-last-resort"—he works only with novelist Elizabeth Strout as the sole author he continues to copy-edit himself.[2]

Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style was published in the US on January 29, 2019, with a UK edition to follow on May 30, 2019.[6] Dreyer began the project as a revision of an internal memo to advise copy editors and proofreaders at Random House.[7] The memo expanded to about 20 pages and eventually Dreyer became interested in developing it as a book, published with Random House. Dreyer's English debuted at number nine on The New York Times bestseller list for "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous"[8] and received enthusiastic reviews.[9][10] In The New Yorker, Katy Waldman writes that "Dreyer beckons readers by showing that his rules make prose pleasurable...The author’s delight in his tool kit is palpable."[11] In Paste, Frannie Jackson recommends the book as "invaluable to everyone who wants to shore up their writing skills and an utter treat for anyone who simply revels in language."[12] In The Wall Street Journal, Ben Yagoda finds "wisdom and good sense on nearly every page of 'Dreyer’s English.'"[13] (Yagoda also notes a trend of "copy editors’ memoirs-cum-style guides", comparing Dreyer's English to "the splendid Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen" from New Yorker copy editor Mary Norris.)[13]

The Washington Post calls Dreyer "the unofficial language guru on Twitter".[14]

Personal life[edit]

Dreyer lives in New York City.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dreyer, Benjamin (2019-02-18). "Oh, cool: May 11, 1958. Thanks". @BCDreyer. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  2. ^ a b c d Lyall, Sarah (1 February 2019). "Meet the Guardian of Grammar Who Wants to Help You Be a Better Writer". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Benjamin Dreyer". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  4. ^ "RH Copy Chief Benjamin Dreyer on His Second Career As An Author + Some Grammatical Tips". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  5. ^ "Duffy, Dreyer Up at Random". Publishers Weekly. January 7, 2008. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  6. ^ Wood, Heloise (February 15, 2019). "Century wins auction for Random House veteran's grammar rules | The Bookseller". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2019-02-15.
  7. ^ Kreizman, Maris. "Grammar Guru Benjamin Dreyer Talks Twitter Style, Denounces 'Onboarding'". Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  8. ^ "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - The New York Times". The New York Times. February 17, 2019. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  9. ^ "Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style". Publisher's Weekly. October 29, 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  10. ^ Warner, John (January 27, 2019). "'Dreyer's English' Is for Everybody". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  11. ^ Waldman, Katy (30 January 2019). "The Hedonic Appeal of "Dreyer's English"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  12. ^ Jackson, Frannie (January 25, 2019). "The 10 Best Books of January 2019". Paste. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b Yagoda, Ben (25 January 2019). "'Dreyer's English' Review: Flossing Your Prose". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  14. ^ Patrick, Bethanne (January 1, 2019). "What books to read in January". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 January 2019.

External links[edit]