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17

If we can trust Grammar Girl's thoroughness of search, then her advice is sound: Every style guide I checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that uses Associated Press style, put in the ...


13

I'm the woman from the video. Saying 'tac' isn't silly at all. I grew up in a military family, so this was used regularly when speaking of a dash. Without getting into details, my father was in many fields where he was required to spell out commands via a speaking system, and they used tac. In school, we used 'dash'. Generally, I use tac when referring to ...


11

I have been searching for the same as the OP. More searching has revealed this in the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (I have not read the whole of it, so I might be misinterpreting it): 16.17. Signatures, preceded by an em dash, are sometimes run in with last line of text. UPDATE (2019-10-01) There appears to be a PDF render of the ...


10

Em dashes can be used if allowed by your style guide (but don't use them too often). For example, this is what APA says: First, when would you use an em dash? The Publication Manual (p. 97) notes that em dashes are “used to set off an element added to amplify or to digress from the main clause.” The em dash draws a reader’s attention, partly because of the ...


9

According to a reddit.com post, this usage “originates as a navy term for flag signalling”: A tackline is a length of halyard approximately 6 feet long; the exact length depends upon the size of flags in use. The tackline is transmitted and spoken as tack and is written as a dash (hyphen) "-". It is used to avoid ambiguity. It separates signals or groups ...


8

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, you should drop the comma. See section 6.86: "In modern usage, if the context calls for an em dash where a comma would ordinarily separate a dependent clause from an independent clause, the comma is omitted." No word on commas that separate independent clauses from each other, however, which is the case that brought ...


8

Your example seems to refer to an epigraph, which is a short passage normally used at the start of a book or chapter. There is no "single" answer. It depends entirely on the style guide or in-house style manual. The Chicago Manual of Style (13.36) says that An author may wish to include an epigraph—a quotation that is pertinent but not integral to the ...


8

If you look at printing manuals from the mid-19th century (you can find these on Google books, for example Typographia: Or, The Printer's Instructor, from 1857) there wasn't any distinction between em-dashes and en-dashes when used as punctuation. This book recommends using em-dashes—with no spaces to either side—to set off parenthetical ...


7

An ellipsis is used in a quote to convey that the speaker trails off. An em dash is used in a quote to convey that the speaker is cut off, even if the speaker cuts him/herself off, as is the case in your second example. Source: https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/grammar-ease-ellipsis-versus-the-em-dash/


7

If you must use something other than quotation marks for dialog, here is The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) 6.91: Em dashes are occasionally used instead of quotation marks to set off dialogue (à la writers in some European languages). Each speech starts a new paragraph. No space follows the dash. —Will he obtain the necessary signatures? —Of course he ...


6

In your example, the em dashes are used in pairs to set off parenthetical phrases. A parenthetical phrase is a clause that is inserted into the flow of an otherwise complete sentence as an "interruption" that adds additional information. If the parenthetical phrase is removed, the remaining words should form a full and complete sentence on their own. ...


6

Great question! (A coincidence of https://english.stackexchange.com/a/190692/8286 ) Just FWIW, I say "minus" like you ("l s minus a l") or often just don't say the minus. So, in the example I'd read "n c l p 1234" IMO very few people say hyphen. I'd say "dash" is common, but I'd say "minus" is more common ...


6

Unicode now calls all of these "Dash" characters (meaning, they have the "Dash" property, not that their names mention dash): U+002D ‭ - HYPHEN-MINUS U+058A ‭ ֊ ARMENIAN HYPHEN U+05BE ‭ ־ HEBREW PUNCTUATION MAQAF U+1400 ‭ ᐀ CANADIAN SYLLABICS HYPHEN U+1806 ‭ ᠆ MONGOLIAN TODO SOFT HYPHEN U+2010 ‭ ‐ HYPHEN U+2011 ‭ ‑ NON-BREAKING HYPHEN U+2012 ‭ ‒ ...


6

A modern discussion of compound points Following the lead of Nicholson Baker in a review of M.B. Parkes's Pause and Effect published in The New York Review of Books, Keith Houston, Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks (2013) refers to the ;— combination as a semi-colash. Houston reports that this form of ...


5

Good catch - it shows careful reading. But consider that the story was published in 1846 (and probably written the year before). Today we might use either the semicolon or the em-dash (but not both). Typically, the part after a semicolon is a complete sentence - one that is closely related to the first part (also usually a complete sentence). (I'm glad ...


5

There is no rule that prohibits the use of or to isolate clauses in your interrupting phrase: A word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses. Note: there are rules for using dashes, parentheses, and commas. See parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes ...


5

hyphen "The short one" Its diminutive size helps the reader to read the two words as a single word. Ideally, this would be visually invisible and the two words would be directly joined, but grammar rules don't agree. en-dash "The mid-sized one" The difference in appearance is important in order to signal to the reader that it should not be interpreted as a ...


5

In a maths context (at least within physics) in the UK, you would use "prime". If you didn't, you'd say something more specific, like "first derivative of x", as the prime can be used for other derived variables as well (e.g. x after an event, especially in lower level work) A "dash" is a horizontal line, and isn't commonly used in mathematics as it's very ...


4

The "double hyphen" is a stand-in for an em dash (—), which is a punctuation usually used for expressing a pause before a related thought. Some of its functions are redundant with colons, semicolons, and even commas, although using it in place of a comma is typically frowned upon as unnecessary. What you're dealing with in your greeting is an em dash taking ...


4

Unlike pure spelling and basic punctuation rules, the shape of punctuation marks and characters are governed only by style guide and personal practice. Some style guides even advise consistently using only three separate dots (never ellipses) and simple hyphens (never en dashes, em dashes, numeric dashes, or horizontal bars). What level of typographic ...


4

Or, "This pencil is black, not white." Or, "Not white, but black this pencil is" (in Yoda-speak). I prefer my first version, by the way.


4

A pair of dashes is used, as here, to separate a strong interruption from the rest of the sentence. Consistency requires the interruption to be terminated by the same punctuation mark that began it.


4

Could you? Sure. But no, you shouldn't. Separate the sentences or move the clarification within. I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites -- particularly those interested in tech or the cloud, big data, mobile applications, info graphics, etc. -- who are seeking new writers right now? or I am wondering if you know any ...


4

Actually, the rules are fairly set on spaces before or after an "em-dash" -- you don't use them. If your style guide calls for spaces around a dash, you use a different character altogether, the "en-dash." Wikipedia has a descent overview on dashes, especially noting the differnet ways to reflect either and em-dash or an en-dash. An em-dash can be written ...


4

Like many institutions in the UK, the BBC has published its entire style guide online. The style guide is massive and detailed and is the result of hundreds of combined years of writing and editorial experience. Like other major style guides, we can assume that each rule is well-considered, and since all style guides change, we know that rules are often ...


4

"Come" + to-infinitive or "come" + "to be { participle}" are lexical expressions or approximations of inchoative and perfective verbal aspect. Verbs in English are not inflected for aspect, so these meanings have to be made by phrases. The dashes are unnecessary and irrelevant. How did he come to run (or 'to be running') down the street? --What set him ...


4

Probably mostly a matter of preference. I myself have slight preference for a simple comma over "--". And a larger preference for "--" over ":". The dash to me signifies a space of time, almost a breath if it were spoken. The colon to me has a "scientific" highfalutin feel, similar to "to wit".


4

You ask: Is there a style guide (preferably for Australia or the UK) that addresses this? Or is it just an overlook on Word's part? Consider the (Australian) Monash University style guide on Dashes (dots inserted here primarily for formatting): At Monash, we use en dashes ( – ) rather than em dashes (—). ... En dashes within sentences have one space ...


4

Scope and Summary The question concerns the punctuation ‘rules’ for insertion of spaces at the either sides of em-dashes, and in particular whether adjacent quotation marks influence this. Australian or British usage is requested. Valid criticism of my initial answer provoked me to survey the different typographic styles of dashes employed as pauses in ...


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