Help! I've read everything there is on Google re: semicolon and dash use and, whilst I understand all this, I still struggle deciding when to use a semicolon over a dash to join two independent clauses. I'm an avid endasher (from UK, so endash used more than emdash), and due to their increasing prevalence in newspapers etc, I think I'm a little desensitised to them. Consider the following:
Sorry I didn't get round to helping; it's been a difficult week
Sorry I didn't get round to helping - it's been a difficult week
I couldn't go to work; I was feeling too sick
I couldn't go to work - I was feeling too sick
I ate all the food; I was starving
I ate all the food - I was starving
That's not borrowing; that's stealing
That's not borrowing - that's stealing
Now, I feel I say all of these aloud with some sort of emphasis, so I naturally hover over the emdash. So my question is... How do I decide whether my joining clause is dramatic enough to warrant a dash?
I understand dashes are more frequent in informal writing (and, if I'm being honest, I'd find myself 'stuffy' using them in emails etc) but, regardless, I'd like to at least feel I know when the semicolon is more appropriate, even if I choose not to use it!
Can anyone help? Thanks in advance!