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I love to emphasize. Here I'm emphasizing "determination." Is it the right way to do it?

"If one word can sum up his career, it is determination—determination to fight back and do the impossible."

  • There is no "the" here. It is one right way to do it. If you love to emphasize, though, you should probably vary it with other right ways, such as italics, lest readers be irritated at being too often slowed down by both the em dash and the repetition. – Brian Donovan Jun 14 '15 at 19:10
  • Thank you for the response Mr. Donovan. I agree there is no "the." If I emphasize this way, is it okay? – Roy Jun 14 '15 at 19:19
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What you're doing here is anadiplosis, "repetition of a prominent and usually the last word in one phrase or clause at the beginning of the next" (MW). And yes, it's long been recognised as a specific rhetorical device which adds emphasis to the repeated word (see Wikipedia, among other sources).

However, what makes it anadiplosis isn't the em dash; it's the repetition itself. Whether you use an em dash or an en dash is a whole other question, discussed here (in summary, American usage favours an em dash, British usage favours an en dash). A semicolon or full colon would also be possible in this case. There's no single "right" choice between these options - it would come down to the rhythm of the paragraph, and/or to personal style.

  • Thank you so much @Morton. You don't know how much you've helped explaining this. – Roy Jun 14 '15 at 19:35

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