Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dash it all! The A to Z Writing Challenge





The em-dash. I love this punctuation mark! Although it is often overused by those who have been introduced to it, I find that this cute dash, named after the letter because of its width, is invaluable in my writing.

The em-dash is used primarily for replacing commas, colons, semi-colons, and parenthesis. Its also used to show emphasis, or an interruption, or a sudden change of thought.

Good examples:
"My husband earns the paycheck—and I spend it." 
"Won’t you just—oh, never mind!" 
"But I thought—"

Just so you know, the Office Word program will automatically transform those two dashes into the longer emdash if you write the first word--then the two dashes--then the second word all without using any spaces in between. Easy peasy.

Happy emdashing!

14 comments:

Margo Kelly said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously. Same topic for us both again today! ha. But like yesterday, we cover it in slightly different ways. So funny. :)

Nancy Thompson said...

I discovered the em-dash a couple years ago and love to use it show emphasis. I have an old version of Word ('03) and have to type 2 dashes followed by an apostrophe then backspace, but it works.

Nice to meet you! I'm a new follower via the A to Z.

Debra Erfert said...

Margo, I always believed that I had a twin at birth, but she was taken away. I swear!

Nancy, nice to meet you! I was trying to make an emdash on my critique partner's manuscript a few minutes ago, but it wasn't working. I'm going to try your suggestion. His program could be the 03 version and mine won't work.

Rebecca Lamoreaux said...

I love that you are posting tips about grammar and the correct use of the m-dash and comma. I think too many people don't know how to use them ..... I know I have issues :) I'm gonna follow the rest of your posts and see what I can learn! You definitely already helped me figure out the quotations with punctuation mark - thing! So thanks for that!

Debra Erfert said...

Haha! Rebecca, you're too cute. But I welcome you following me, as I will you.

Sylvia Ney said...

What is it about this little guy that makes us want to use it so often? Great post for "D".

New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

Sylvia
http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com

Debra Erfert said...

Thank you, Sylvia! Love the hat, btw.

Mere Joyce said...

Great post, for sure! Love this dash...don't use it terribly often, but definitely use it with joy.

Debra Erfert said...

Mere, a few of my characters are very emotional, so I use it often. :)

Margo Kelly said...

We are twins ... I think we even have the same color of hair. :) I also have two boys, plus a little stubborn girl who surprised us with her presence as well! :) Well she's not little anymore. She's sixteen and dating. My boys have left the nest. One is at BYU in Provo and the other is serving a mission in Alabama (technically it's the Florida Tallahasse mission). More than you wanted to know ... but I figured you'd want an update since we were separated at birth. :)

Debra Erfert said...

Well, their cousins, both boys, are recently married (within the past 2 years). The one that served his mission in Paraguay, married the Paraguayan beauty he met at the Provo MTC and will be giving me my first grandchild in June. I got my girls by marriage. That's fine. I love them just the same. The more you know--the more you know.

Karen Adair said...

I LOVE the em-dash. I love how it transforms the two dashes into one long one magically, as though saying "ta-da" congratulations on the proper use of the em-dash. :) lol Now, whether or not I used it in the right place is yet to be determined. :) Cute post!

Debra Erfert said...

It is a magical little punctuation mark, isn't it? Thanks for commenting, Karen!

Lindsey said...

I posted on grammar for G and I mentioned the em-dash, although I said I didn't know if I used it correctly. I love your theme!