DREYER’S ENGLISH: From NYT Bestselling Book to New Card Game STET!
Benjamin Dreyer, Vice President, Executive Managing Editor and Copy Chief, Random House, is also the author of The New York Times bestselling book DREYER’S ENGLISH: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style . This “essential (and delightful!)” book spawned STET! Dreyer’s English, a new card game for language lovers, grammar geeks and bibliophiles, published by Clarkson Potter.
STET! (a copyeditor’s term that means “let it stand”) will help players sharpen their language skills or show them off. There are 100 entertaining sentences waiting for you, and the first person to spot the error, or else call out “STET!” if there is no error, gets the card. There are two ways to play: compete for points in a straightforward grammar game, or play with style and syntax and whip the author’s sentences into splendid shape. The person with the most cards at the end of the game wins!
In this special Igloo interview, Dreyer agreed to answer three questions.
What inspired you to create STET!?
I’m delighted to report that the inspiration was not mine at all but that of Lindley Boegehold and the excellent people at Clarkson Potter. I was perfectly happy to have seen the publication of Dreyer’s English as a book; it never occurred to me that it might morph into, of all things, a card game. A lot of exceptionally thoughtful thought, including amazing design work, has gone into the creation of the game, and I think the whole thing is a wonderful testament to the collaborative effort of the publication process. [Confidential to LB: Can we think about Dreyer’s English diner placemats next?]
How helpful is it for game players to have read your book DREYER’S ENGLISH?
You don’t have to have read Dreyer’s English to play the game well, though of course it helps (and of course everyone should read Dreyer’s English). That said, reading the book will certainly bring out your inner copy editor and get you into the right frame of mind to play the game.
What pregame tips and advice do you have for folks who consider themselves competitive grammar nerds, and those players who just want to have fun?
I’d simply suggest that players not overcomplicate their thinking as they’re looking at the cards and trying to figure out how best to solve the sentence problems: The solutions are (reasonably) basic and (reasonably) obvious. And I don’t think you need to be a cutthroat copy editor type to get into the spirit of the game. Once you’ve played through a couple of cards and figured out how it all generally works, I think it gets easier. Mostly I do hope that people are amused by the game, because isn’t that what games are for?