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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dashes

I have been editing the next issue of dANDelion magazine and also reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and my inner stickler is balking at my punctuation pet peeve: misunderstanding and confusion concerning hyphens and dashes.

KNOW THIS. There are three commonly confused punctuation marks:

A hyphen (-) which connects two words for various reasons (i.e., fire-roasted);

an en dash (–), which is the length of a capital-N, and which is used to indicate "between X and Y" (i.e., "1978 – 1989" equals "between 1978 and 1989");

and an em dash (—), which is the length of a capital-M, and is used as a break — as in this example — and which may NOT be replaced with a hyphen or en dash.

3 Comments:

Blogger ken said...

i did not know why en and em dashes were so called. had never even heard of an en dash.

11:00 AM

 
Blogger ALCHEMICAL PRESS said...

Hey Jonathan

A funny thing I notice......you think it's fine to break the rules to make film, but not poetry? I say dash the dash, make your marks, then leave your marks. -------___-_-----....

G

11:16 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Ball said...

greg, greg, you know as well as i do that there's a difference between "i'm doing something interesting with a dash!" and "duh... what's a dash?"

12:25 PM

 

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