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 of a dash, or do the clauses need to be two different sentences?

  • 2
    Um...I know this isn't what you are asking about, but are you really sure you want to use the word "forge" there? It does have a meaning relating to crafting things from metals, but it also means "create unauthorised copies (forgeries) of". In this context, that would be the more typical use...
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 16 '13 at 21:50
  • This is a good point. I've been thinking about the different meanings. It does worry me slightly about the more negative meaning. I might need to re-think..
    – Doidgey
    Dec 16 '13 at 21:52
  • 2
    I would put a hyphen between "Bristol" and "based". I would probably also put a period after "Mat", and make the rest of it one sentence, probably joined with the conjunction "and." Did you check out any punctuation guidance before you asked here? More on dashes can be found at sites like this one.
    – J.R.
    Dec 16 '13 at 21:58
  • Em dashes, not en dashes, are used to join related clauses. I'm afraid which dash to use is the least of your worries, however, as there are several other errors which an editor or proofreader should be able to help you with, but which are off-topic for this site.
    – choster
    Dec 16 '13 at 21:58
  • 1
    The question is nonsensical right now because there is no dash in the sentence. There is only a hyphen. Using a dash in this sentence is wrong, but using a hyphen for a dash is always wrong.
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 16 '13 at 22:39

Dashes (including 'en' and 'em' forms) are used for the following purposes:

  • To set off parenthetical material that deserves emphasis
  • To set off appositives that contain commas
  • To prepare for a list, a restatement, an amplification, or a dramatic shift in tone or thought

Since your second clause meets none of these criteria, I would use another punctuation mark that connects two closely related clauses: a semicolon.

My name is Mat, I am a Bristol based designer in the UK; I forge digital art, illustrations & websites

Since there are three clauses, I'd separate the first one with a period.

My name is Mat. I am a Bristol-based designer in the UK; I forge digital art, illustrations & websites.

Finally, forge in this case means to make/create?

My name is Mat. I am a Bristol-based designer in the UK; I create digital art, illustrations & websites.

  • 2
    "forge in this case means to make/create" unless he makes illegal copies for a living. :P
    – p.s.w.g
    Dec 16 '13 at 22:31
  • How can clauses be 'closely related' without the second one fulfilling one of your 3 requirements above? I'd say that here 'I create digital art, illustrations & websites' paraphrases / enlarges on (ie restates / amplifies) 'I am a designer'. I'm not happy with OP's sentence as it stands, but the dash usage doesn't worry me per se. Dec 16 '13 at 22:40
  • Thank you. I am going to re-work my thinking on the whole approach.
    – Doidgey
    Dec 16 '13 at 22:51
  • I'm happy with: My name is Mat. I am a Bristol-based designer in the UK, working mainly in digital art, illustration, and website design. Dec 16 '13 at 22:57

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