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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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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3answers
638 views

Spaces and em-dash

In using the em-dash, where do you put the spaces? Which of the following is correct? School is based on the three R’s —reading, writing, and ’rithemtic. or School is based on the three R’s— ...
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4answers
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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
205 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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2answers
119 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
337 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
145 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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116 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
406 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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183 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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6k 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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665 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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1answer
436 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
691 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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0answers
21 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
273 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 ...
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2answers
283 views

Semicolon followed by an em-dash

I recently read "The Cask of Amontillado" for pleasure, and I found this passage: He had a weak point –this Fortunato –although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He ...
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2answers
321 views

dash to connect two thoughts

How can I use a dash to correctly connect two and thoughts in a sentence? Is the following sentence correct with the dash in from or should I remove it? An S database allows access from – and can ...
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1answer
440 views

Approximating Fancy Punctuation

Is it ever okay (or acceptable in modern casual usage) to approximate an ellipse glyph '…' with three full-stops '...' or spaced full-stops '. . .'? The textbooks say you shouldn't, ...
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1answer
1k views

Using dashes vs. commas in business communications

Having settled into a new job in communications, I am faced with the issue of em dashes. Since I am quite partial to commas but my boss is more partial to em dashes, I can't help but wonder whether ...
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1answer
727 views

Em dash or colon in formal writing

In formal writing, should I use an em dash The Earth consists of three layers — crust, mantle, and core. or a colon The Earth consists of three layers: crust, mantle, and core. ?
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655 views

Should you use en dashes in acronyms?

For terms like liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry that typically use an en dash rather than a hyphen, would an en dash still be used in the acronym, LC–MS? Or would we only need a hyphen there, ...
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2answers
483 views

punctuation of “damned if you do and damned if you don't” [duplicate]

Personally, I think quotes are best, but lately, I'm hearing that quotes are incorrect and dashes should be used between the words. What say you? damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't or ...
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2answers
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When to choose em dash over parenthesis for parenthetical phrases?

According to Wikipedia: The em dash, m dash, m-rule, or "mutton" (—) often demarcates a break of thought or some similar interpolation stronger than the interpolation demarcated by parentheses ...
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2answers
206 views

Asymmetric spacing of dashes in interpolated phrases

I have come across a dash-spacing style that I haven't seen anywhere else, and I'm wondering where it may come from. The person who writes in this style asserts that he has learnt it in school in the ...
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2answers
421 views

How should I parse a sentence that’s broken up with a dash?

What is the correct "parsing" of this sentence: Futuristic but not out of time — like an artifact from the 1960’s, someone trying to imagine what 2013 would be like. I came to two ...
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Em dash vs semicolon: which is more appropriate in the following examples?

I am very confused by these, and even when I understand other people's usage of them I find it difficult to know when to employ them myself. For this reason, I am trying to make my own examples and ...
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The usage of en dash between two complete dates

Is it necessary to put a space before and after the symbol en dash (–) put between two complete dates? Example: January 1, 2013 – January 1, 2014
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3k views

What is a correct punctuation for a sentence starting with “One more thing”?

In the following sentence what would be the correct punctuation One more thing don't tell anyone about our conversation. Should "One more thing" be separated by comma, dash or colon? Or perhaps ...
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2answers
882 views

Punctuation following an interruption with a dash

I am not sure what the correct punctuation to use when ending a clause that was introduced with a dash when the next character in the main sentence is a punctuation mark. Take the following contrived ...
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1answer
10k views

“40-50 years old” vs. “40-50 year olds” when referring to a group

In formal research, which is more correct, and why: the group of 40-50 years old OR the group of 40-50 year olds In any case the phrase in bold is to be treated as a noun only, as in: The ...
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2answers
195 views

What is the best way and what are the differences to introduce a “pause explanatory” phrase inside another one? [closed]

In this example: bla bla bla phrase such as even if something like this doesn’t exist bla bla bla. What can I use to inject my phrase in the middle of the sentence? ,phrase, (commas) ;phrase; ...
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How to write “till now” in a résumé? [closed]

I am writing a résumé. I want to specify that I started my education in 2009 and as of now I am at the 4th grade (in other words, still learning), so how should I specify that in résumé: 2009 - ...
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3answers
4k views

What's the double hyphen after greetings in emails?

I usually see just format in the emails I receive daily: Hello Dorian-- I'm calling you in regard with the something... Thanks, I see comma after the greetings too but I am not sure ...
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0answers
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What kind of dash character should I use at the end of a famous saying to mark of the author? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Appropriate dash to use when attributing a quotation What kind of dash character should I use at the end of a famous saying to mark of the author? Should I use "en dash" ...
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1answer
926 views

“—” vs. “;” vs. “,” vs. “()” — what's the difference? [closed]

All of these punctuation marks seem to have the same purpose. Is there any general guideline for picking one for each use case?
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1answer
333 views

Parentheses vs. commas vs. hyphen or dash in a list of people

In a list of people published in a bulletin, which is correct? We continue in prayer for: Amy B.(cancer), T. Jones(nephew of Tim), Lillie (on the death of her brother), Sally(Nursing Home), ...
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1answer
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More dastardly dashes: what are the 'horizontal bar' and 'figure dash' characters for? [closed]

Having read another excellent answer regarding the use of horizontal line-like characters, I'm interested to know the meanings of the horizontal bar and figure dash. In the other answer linked above, ...
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1answer
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Which dash should be used to indicate “None”, “No Answer”, or “Not Applicable”? [closed]

Consider the following overview of an individual's profile: Name: John Smith Age: 29 Marital status: Single Spouse's Name: - The dash given as "Spouse's Name" indicates that there is no ...
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4answers
1k views

Use of dash in a sentence

Is the dash an acceptable punctuation in this sentence? Dances, parties, luncheons -- all these should be part of your senior year.
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682 views

Is “non-freedom” correct?

I need to write something like Students were silenced because of social media posts: a case of non-freedom. That isn't the exact context, but I need to know if non-freedom is correct.
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3answers
2k views

Is an ellipsis interchangeable with an em dash?

I know than an ellipsis can be used to show a broken sentence, the same way an em dash can be used. What I don't know is that if the two are interchangeable and it is writer preference or if different ...
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1answer
336 views

Doubly hyphenated words

Consider the word quasi-first-class. Are the hyphens used correctly? Should the two hyphens be of different length to denote the distinction of the hyphenation? Is there a general rule to deal with ...
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1answer
256 views

Why a dash in this example? [closed]

I am reading an article by Bill Keller (The Times). He wrote: Through the years, The New York Times’s coverage of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican has received sharp criticism from ...
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1answer
1k views

What's the difference between - and — in a phrase? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? When do I put a - in a sentence? Is it a more powerful comma? With a bigger pause?
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4answers
880 views

How to write dashes in “a 2-4-room-apartment”?

I want to write in the announcement a description of an eventual apartment, which I am searching as a rental. I am interested in apartments with 2, 3, or 4 rooms. How should I write the compound ...
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4answers
7k views

'2-3' or 'two to three' proper use

In the following sentence is the use of '2-3' appropriate for a PowerPoint presentation or should it be 'two to three'? Research shows that a deaf child tends to produce signs 2-3 months earlier ...
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2answers
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Understanding appositives and the use of the m-dash ( — )

My understanding of a dash is that it sets off a lengthy appositive, but can also be used to introduce a summary. Consider the following passage from Stephan Jay Gould: If evolution worked ...
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1answer
283 views

Is this dash correct?

I’m hoping someone can give me some feedback/advice on the dash below. The site also supports a mobile version that allows you to easily check whether a book is in your collection—a feature ...
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7answers
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Appropriate dash to use when attributing a quotation?

If I’m citing a poem or quotation, what kind of dash precedes the author’s name? Example: This Business of Printing; which I am heartily tired of, and repent I e’er attempted. . . .           ...