So I've seen these (—) used a lot in writing (mostly in fiction), but I'm still unsure of the correct way to use them.
I've seen them used to define something.
I have several things in my backpack — pencils, erasers, and papers.
When you're defining something, do you have to be exact? For instance, I probably have more than just pencils, erasers, and papers in my backpack, so do I have to write everything down when using an em dash to define something? Also, when I'm defining something, can it be in between the sentence, instead of at the very end (this is very uncommon though, right?) e.g. I have several things — pencils, erasers, and papers — in my backpack.
I've seen them used to include ideas in between.
Something I'm confused about is the type of idea you put using the em dash. Is it something that's important for the reader to know, or simply included to enhance your writing. Can someone please elaborate on this one (probably the most confusing one for me...)
I've seen them used to end a sentence abruptly.
This usually gives the feeling of suspense to dialogue.
"What's going on? Where am —"
I've seen them used to answer questions or problems or disputes.
"Johnny killed Harris."
"No, it wasn't Johnny — Harris killed himself."