The dash is a family of punctuation marks which are not part of a word, but resemble long hyphens in appearance.

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Punctuating a sentence containing em dashes within commas [duplicate]

I always find myself writing sentences that contain clauses within clauses, and I can never decide what the right way to punctuate this is. I'm not specifying what kinds of clauses because they could ...
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1answer
69 views

Should I use … or —?

I came across this recently and curious as to which is correct. Here are a couple example sentences: I wish you would…oh, never mind. OR I wish you would—oh, never mind. In the above ...
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28 views

What are the rules for using dashes in headings? [closed]

Are there any hard and fast rules for using dashes in headings? In the technical documents I'm currently in charge of editing, we use em dashes to separate a smaller, more specified portion of a ...
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2answers
26 views

Jack London's list —X, Y, and a Z and a J

On the sled, securely lashed, was a long and narrow oblong box. There were other things on the sled—blankets, an axe, and a coffee-pot and frying-pan; but prominent, occupying most of the ...
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94 views

Why multiple length dashes (em, en, hyphen)? [duplicate]

I'm wondering why there are three different sizes (perhaps more?) for lines that separate characters? I understand the grammatical usage (or rather, I could look it up), but the benefit to readers is ...
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71 views

What is the correct hyphenation of “human skin tissue emulating gel”?

A type of gel designed to emulate human skin tissue. So, is this a "human skin tissue–emulating gel" (en dash)? Or, is it a "human-skin-tissue-emulating gel" (all hyphens)? Does anyone know the ...
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16 views

“Rights are X— X is Y — X is Z—Z is V". Instead of Rights are X; X is Y; X is Z;Z is V

I understand the em dash to be more dramatic and intense than a semi-colon. I'm checking on whether the decision to use the em dash here is also purely stylistic. “Rights” are a moral concept—the ...
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1answer
47 views

Should I used a dash for “often-used” and “well-documented”?

Not sure what this is called, but I have seen the following phrases with and without dashes: The doctor performed a well-documented procedure. Or: He took an often-used road to the farm. ...
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258 views

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)?

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)? Example from BBC News: Venezuela - a major oil producer - has been heavily affected by the fall in oil prices on ...
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48 views

punctuating more than one sentence within em dashes and parentheses midsentence

I cannot recast the following sentence. Is it punctuated correctly, i.e., the ending period, midsentence, before the second em dash? The department's philosophy -- When in doubt, let them out. ...
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97 views

punctuation if dash introduces question-sentences

He worried--why X; what will happen if Y? It seems that this construction expresses the idea best, but it creates a few punctuation questions. Should the first semicolon be question-mark? Is there ...
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2answers
210 views

space before/after emdash or not? [duplicate]

I have seen style manuals suggest that there be no space between emdash and the surrounding words. The following NY times article has spaces in the first sentence: "An expression of concern by ...
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1answer
117 views

What does the dash (“—”) in this sentence do? [duplicate]

Does "–" between methods and documenting have any function in this sentence? What is it trying to say? Moreover, multi-lingual texts, like vernacular works, have traditionally had strong ...
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2answers
37 views

pre-customer inquiry/ post-customer inquiry

I'm translating titles of paragraphs from Japanese to English. A pragmatic translation of the titles can be: "Before Receiving Inquiries from Potential Customers" and "After Receiving Inquiries from ...
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3answers
89 views

Should I use comma, or dashes, or braces here?

Should I enclose 'red and blue' inside comma, or dashes, or braces? He spent several days wandering and collecting flowers (red and blue), and analyzed the results to prove his point. OR ...
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1answer
42 views

Third-party or third party? [duplicate]

Does British English use a dash in between third-party, or is that for American English?
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71 views

“Problem: solved.” or “Problem, solved.” or “Problem—solved.”

How should one correctly achieve the flow of this short sentence through the use of punctuation? Problem. Solved. In my specific example, I'm writing about how to restore creativity lost to the ...
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1answer
102 views

How to know when to use dashes or commas or braces when describing something in the middle of a sentence?

For example, you have a sentence like this: But let’s pluck a word at random from the vocabulary tree: lambaste. Let’s say whenever you encounter this word, the first four letters, l-a-m-b, ...
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3answers
105 views

Comma vs. em-dash

When is it appropriate to use em dashes instead of commas? I have tried commas in this sentence, but it seems too disjointed: I'm going to be here at Zep, just up the road from KO near Howell ...
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2answers
91 views

In June–July 1967? Between June–July 1967?

Which is correct and which is not? In June--July 1967, there were... Between June--July 1967, there were... Between June and July 1967, there were... If I want to use "June--July 1967", how can I ...
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0answers
83 views

Is the usage of this semicolon correct? Should I replace it with a colon or dash?

I am getting ready to have my first tattoo and, as a fairly strict grammarian, I want to make sure that I get it right. I plan for the tattoo to look like the following, but I'm not totally sure about ...
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2answers
406 views

Pronunciation of “-” sign, particularly in Unix commands

While talking about commands for command-line interface, I sometimes need to pronounce how command should be typed, like this one: nc -l -p 1234 I used to pronounce - sign in this context as a ...
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1answer
49 views

Punctuation between clauses when the first clause is a series

I have this sentence: Even if I seem too busy, or you made a mistake, or someone we care about will be upset, or you feel embarrassed, if anything bothers you, I want to know. I believe that ...
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1answer
34 views

Is this list punctuated correctly?

I am in the process of writing my CV/Resume and want to list my skills with a brief explanation of how I learnt them. So far I have been using: Marketing Experience - Gained from owning a small ...
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1answer
89 views

Punctuate a clause-example-clause-example in a sentence

I'm proofreading a colleagues work, and ran across a sentence which contains two examples with clarifications. I do not believe this should be broken out into two sentences. The original (nouns ...
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1answer
185 views

Can em dashes be used to isolate clauses starting with an “or”?

Here’s a simplified version of the sentence I'm working on. Despite what he believed — or thought he believed — he still had to contend with the truth. Or should I use commas?
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122 views

Use of the en dash instead of the hyphen in compound adjectives

I have the following taken from a paper that I am editing: … proposed a water-filling factor aided search method to solve … My question is related to whether I should use an en dash to connect ...
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1answer
1k views

Function of Dashes in a Sentence

Today any accessible, fast-moving story written in unaffected prose is deemed to be "genre fiction"—at best an excellent "read" or a "page turner," but never literature with a capital L. I cant ...
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1answer
279 views

En dash with compound adjectives (problem)

I frequently encounter cases, such as the ones below, where you seemingly have two hyphenated compound adjectives modifying a noun. I know that in such cases that you should join the compound ...
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12 views

suspended hyphen usage [duplicate]

I am writing my master's thesis and I use the words 'read set' and 'write set'. Do I write those like 'read-set' and can I write: read- and write-set? Thanks, Flo
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3answers
770 views

Can a dash work after a question mark?

Can a dash work after a question mark? Meaning is this sentence correct and if not how would you rewrite it? I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites who are seeking new ...
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1answer
64 views

Overall structure, dashes and commas

The following sentence comes to me a bit intricate: The ultimate responsibility still rests in the hands of Internet users who vote – they, along with the officials elected to serve them, make up ...
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4answers
64 views

In my example, is there a clever way to remove the dashes?

This raises concerns because people who are 21 years-old and are now legally able to drink — but were born before the 15th of the month of their 21st birthday — will not be accounted for.
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156 views

Is there a dash between “n-second” [duplicate]

Take the example "one-second interval". Is there a dash between "one" and "second"? Also, should second be plural if I say "three-second/s interval"?
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1answer
262 views

Hyphenation of a phrasal attributive with an open compound: “A B to C noun”

I'm wondering how to properly hyphenate (or en-dash) the following phrase: fiber optic to BNC converter That is to say, a device that converts "fiber optic" to BNC. If it didn't contain an open ...
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1answer
95 views

Semicolon used within dashes: Making sense of “England in 1819”

I'm trying to analyse Shelley's "England in 1819", but I'm having trouble with a certain passage which features a semicolon within two dashes. I find this quite confusing, and,therefore, I'm not sure ...
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4answers
794 views

Em-dash vs colon: “Remind me: what's your name again?” or “Remind me—what's your name again?”

I have a sentence (and other sentences like it) in which I'm not sure what punctuation to use. Remind me—what's your name again? Remind me: what's your name again? Or is there something else ...
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2answers
160 views

Place interrogation mark within question with “dashed”-comment

I'm trying to figure out where should I place an iterrogation mark in the sentence below. First, what I want to say: Does X mean X, or does it mean Y? As we talked before about X meaning Y. And ...
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100 views

Punctuating “waste not, want not”

How do you punctuate a sentence to indicate that the second phrase is contingent on the first, e.g. Waste not, want not? You could read this typical punctuation as meaning "waste not and want not" ...
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1answer
236 views

Should the first word after a dash used as self-interruption be capitalized?

When writing dialogue, a dash can be used to denote interruption. For example: “Hello, can I ask you about—” “No.” If a character is interrupting themself, should the first word of the ...
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3answers
126 views

Punctuation of a dependent clause for strong emphasis

Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white? This is a black instead of a white pencil. This is a black, instead of a white, ...
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1answer
105 views

Can a dash be used in this instance?

I would like to confirm the use of a dash in this sentence: My name is Mat, I am a Bristol based designer in the UK - I forge digital art, illustrations & websites Is this the proper use ...
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2answers
245 views

Comma and dash introducing a list

Is it right to put a comma before the dash that introduces a series? As the mentor of the original five interns, — Meredith, Cristina, Alex, the runaway Izzie, and the now dead George — Dr. ...
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1answer
154 views

The grammar restriction of dash and parentheses

This is a follow-up to my previous question. The answerer mentioned that when parentheses are used for inserting contents in a sentence, the grammar flexibility is assumed to be higher. If that is ...
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1answer
3k views

em dash followed by a comma [duplicate]

I have three cars — blue, red, and green — , two motorcycles, and four bicycles. Is this a correct use of comma after an em-dash? It seems quite weird. How should I use an em-dash and ...
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1answer
181 views

dash non-restrictive element in the middle of a sentence

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21588069-scientific-research-has-changed-world-now-it-needs-change-itself-how-science-goes-wrong Even when flawed research does not put people’s lives at ...
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298 views

Is an en dash before 'which' proper punctuation?

In this sentence In conclusion, the reading claims that minimum wage is harmful to the companies, which the lecturer contradicts by providing three points –which form a compelling argument, to ...
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4answers
491 views

Difference between using a “-” and a “,” in a sentence

I have noticed that some native english speakers use the "-" sign to explain some additional things in a sentence: eg Sophie is going to the shop - which happened to be around the corner - to ...
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20 views

What is the correct punctuation for this sentence? [duplicate]

Yet I cannot remain in these moments for very long without being reminded of nature's harsh and unforgiving side; I think about fording a raging glacial river in Denali National Park in Alaska and ...
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2answers
232 views

Is it proper to use dashes to set of parenthetical phrases in a comma-separated list?

I'm in need of a complex sentence that lists out three requirements, and the facts that satisfy those requirements. Here's an example of what I'm referring to, using the "motivation, means, and ...