When writing dialogue, a dash can be used to denote interruption. For example:

“Hello, can I ask you about—”


If a character is interrupting themself, should the first word of the interruption be capitalized? In other words, should the word oh be capitalized in the following quote?

“Have you seen — oh my God, you’re him!”


Jane Straus advocates lower-case to follow a dash even after a sentence fragment:

I wish you would — oh, never mind.

This shows an abrupt change in thought and warrants an em dash.

Usage on the internet is non-uniform.

| improve this answer | |
  • She doesn't clearly state a rule, so much as implies common usage to semicolons or other compound sentence constructs. – DougM Dec 22 '13 at 1:19
  • And "usage on the internet is non-uniform" is so obvious it may be a tautology. – DougM Dec 22 '13 at 1:20
  • @DougM If I see someone smoking, I feel I'm justified in considering him a smoker; I quoted Straus's example verbatim. If she had labelled this practice a rule, I probably would have looked a lot further to find someone of equal stature saying or clearly implying it wasn't – I just pointed out that it's not universal practice. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 22 '13 at 9:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.