When should you use a dash in your writing? (2023)

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When can you use a dash in writing?

Use dashes to mark the beginning and end of a series, which might otherwise get confused, with the rest of the sentence: Example: The three female characters—the wife, the nun, and the jockey—are the incarnation of excellence. Dashes are also used to mark the interruption of a sentence in dialogue: Example: “Help!

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When should a dash be used between words?

Resources for learning English

A hyphen joins two or more words together while a dash separates words into parenthetical statements. The two are sometimes confused because they look so similar, but their usage is different. Hyphens are not separated by spaces, while a dash has a space on either side.

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When should a dash be used in English?

Dashes can be used to add parenthetical statements or comments in much the same way as you would use brackets. In formal writing you should use the bracket rather than the dash as a dash is considered less formal. Dashes can be used to create emphasis in a sentence.

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What do you use the dash for?

A dash (—) is a punctuation mark used to set off an idea within a sentence and may be used alone or in pairs. Dashes interrupt a thought in a more dramatic way than a phrase enclosed in commas, but less theatrically than parentheses.

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Are dashes used in formal writing?

Did you know that dashes are informal punctuation? When writing a formal letter or another kind of document, you should always try to avoid informal punctuation symbols. Dashes are one example; exclamation marks are another.

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How do you use dashes in an essay?

1. To set off material for emphasis. Think of dashes as the opposite of parentheses. Where parentheses indicate that the reader should put less emphasis on the enclosed material, dashes indicate that the reader should pay more attention to the material between the dashes.

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What is a dash between words called?

The hyphen ‐ is a punctuation mark used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word. The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. Son-in-law is an example of a hyphenated word.

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What is a dash called in punctuation?

The dash (—), also called the em dash, is the long horizontal bar, much longer than a hyphen. Few keyboards have a dash, but a word processor can usually produce one in one way or another.

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What does a dash mean between numbers?

Hyphens are used to separate groups of numbers, such as in telephone numbers or numbers of financial accounts. But for almost all other cases, the correct punctuation mark is an en dash, which indicates a range or a difference. A span of years (such as “2009–2012”) or any other time range includes an en dash.

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When should you use dashes in a sentence quizlet?

Dashes, like commas, semicolons, colons, ellipses, and parentheses, indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought.

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What is a dash form?

The DASH tool (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour Based Violence Assessment) is part of the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Co-ordinator (MARAC) referral. It's a risk assessment form to help you work out the risk level for the victim. The DASH form gives safeguarding professionals vital information.

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What does a long dash mean in a sentence?

The em dash can function like a comma, a colon, or parenthesis. Like commas and parentheses, em dashes set off extra information, such as examples, explanatory or descriptive phrases, or supplemental facts. Like a colon, an em dash introduces a clause that explains or expands upon something that precedes it.

When should you use a dash in your writing? (2023)
How do you use a dash to connect two sentences?

Quick Use: Use a dash to connect independent clauses or to inerrupt a main clause in a way that creates dramatic effect. Dashes function in two ways: to signal interruptions in a sentence (basically like parentheses), and to connect independent clauses.

How do you use in a sentence?

Here's another way to explain it: The is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. For example, "I just saw the most popular movie of the year." There are many movies, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the.

How do you use a dash in the middle of a sentence?

Use a dash to show a pause or break in meaning in the middle of a sentence:
  1. My brothers—Richard and John—are visiting Hanoi. (Could use commas.)
  2. In the 15th century—when of course nobody had electricity—water was often pumped by hand. (Could use brackets.)

What effect does a dash have on the reader?

The dash functions almost as a colon does in that it adds to the preceding material, but with extra emphasis. Like a caesura (a timely pause) in music, a dash indicates a strong pause, then gives emphasis to material following the pause.

What does a dash mean in dialogue?

Dashes create urgency. Just like in narrative, dashes can be used in dialogue to set off clauses within sentences. But the most important use of dashes in dialogue is to show one speaker interrupting another. The following example from Toni Morrison's Beloved shows both uses: “Nothing bad can happen to her.

What are the 3 types of dashes?

There are actually three different types of dashes: the em-dash, the en-dash, and the 3-em dash. The em-dash can be used to replace parentheses, colons, and commas. Generally, using the em-dash makes the writing style more informal—as if you were writing to an old friend.

How do you write a dash?

A dash is expressed as an "em dash" ( — ) in printing, is expressed in plain text as two hyphens ( -- ) and is used in place of a comma, colon or semicolon for greater emphasis. It denotes a major break or pause and should not be overused.

Why put a dash in front of your name?

A dash or hyphen before a signature is pretty common really. "To precede a credit line, signature, or name of an author or source at the end of a quotation or quoted passage. The more I see of men, the more I like dogs. -MADAME DE STAËL.

What is the difference between a hyphen and a dash on a keyboard?

The hyphen is simply the minus sign on your keyboard. Creating a dash is slightly more complicated and varies between word processing programs. For some, tapping the minus sign twice and hitting the space bar is enough, while others require a combination of the shift, control and option keys.

What is the difference between an en dash and a hyphen?

An en dash (–), the second-longest “dash,” is used to show how a range of things in writing are related to one another. An em dash (—), the longest “dash,” is used as a substitute for a comma, colon, semi-colon, or parentheses and emphasizes information. A hyphen (-) is the shortest “dash” and connects two words.

What is a long dash called in writing?

The hyphen (-), the shortest of the three marks, is familiar (sometimes wretchedly so) to most writers. So is the em dash (—), more often called the long dash, or sometimes just the dash.

Can you end a sentence with an em dash?

An em-dash can be used alone, as in this example from the online The Punctuation Guide: After months of deliberation, the jurors reached a unanimous verdict—guilty. The em-dash emphasizes the conclusion of the sentence, but with less formality than a colon.

Which dash should I use?

The en dash is approximately the length of the letter n, and the em dash the length of the letter m. The shorter en dash (–) is used to mark ranges and with the meaning “to” in phrases like “Dover–Calais crossing.” The longer em dash (—) is used to separate extra information or mark a break in a sentence.

Where do you put dashes in numbers?

NUMBERS: from twenty-one to ninety-nine, when spelled out, are hyphenated. FRACTIONS: Hyphenate a fraction when it is used as a adjective (e.g., a two-thirds majority). Write as two words when used as a noun (e.g. two thirds of the participants). Use figures for sums of money, except when they begin a sentence.

Should 30 day be hyphenated?

With compound adjectives denoting periods of time or amounts, drop the plurals {nine-month pregnancy; 24-hour-a-day service; two-liter bottle}. Note that you would write 30-day notice or 30 days' notice but not 30-days notice. There is an exception of sorts for fractions: two-thirds majority. Suspensive hyphens.

Why do authors use a dash in writing?

To Help Readability. Dashes can also be used to help make a sentence easier to read. This is usually done when a phrase set off by commas has a lot of its own commas within it.

Why do authors put dashes in their writing?

Now for a quick recap on the types of dashes as used in fiction: Generally, hyphens are used to link words to make other words or phrases. En-dashes are generally used to indicate ranges, or to act as a substitute in word pairings for “to” and “and”.

What is the effect of a dash in literature?

A dash is a horizontal line that shows a pause or break in meaning, or that represents missing words or letters. Note that dashes are rather informal and should be used carefully in writing. Dashes are often used informally instead of commas, colons and brackets.

How do you use an em dash in creative writing?

To Indicate an Interruption or Change in Thought

Particularly useful when writing dialogue, an em dash can be used to indicate interjections or changes in thought mid-sentence. This technique is best used in creative or informal writing. Examples: As I was saying—Katie, no, put the scissors down!

What is a dash in writing?

A dash is expressed as an "em dash" ( — ) in printing, is expressed in plain text as two hyphens ( -- ) and is used in place of a comma, colon or semicolon for greater emphasis. It denotes a major break or pause and should not be overused.

What is the dash called in writing?

The dash (—), also called the em dash, is the long horizontal bar, much longer than a hyphen. Few keyboards have a dash, but a word processor can usually produce one in one way or another.

What are the 3 types of dashes?

There are actually three different types of dashes: the em-dash, the en-dash, and the 3-em dash. The em-dash can be used to replace parentheses, colons, and commas. Generally, using the em-dash makes the writing style more informal—as if you were writing to an old friend.

Why do authors use dashes in dialogue?

An em dash is useful when someone is either interrupted or abruptly stops speaking without trailing off. “Oh, be quiet,” he snapped. A brief pause should be shown either with the character stopping his or her speech before continuing, or an ellipsis.

What does a dash mean in dialogue?

Dashes create urgency. Just like in narrative, dashes can be used in dialogue to set off clauses within sentences. But the most important use of dashes in dialogue is to show one speaker interrupting another. The following example from Toni Morrison's Beloved shows both uses: “Nothing bad can happen to her.

How do you use dashes in dialogue?

The main things to remember are:
  1. Use an em dash if the speaker stops mid-word, in the same way as you'd use a hyphen. ...
  2. Use an em dash if the speaker's able to complete a word, but someone or something stops them before they finish their thought. ...
  3. Use an em dash to indicate a sharp change in tone or subject within speech.
31 Oct 2014

What is en dash example?

Express date and number ranges: The en dash implies that there is distance between a range of numbers or dates. For example, “plant in August–October,” or “read pages 10–25.” En dashes are also used to report scores, such as, “Our team won 3–0.”

How often can I use an em dash?

The em-dash is the most common dash seen in fiction writing. It's called an em-dash because it's about the same width as a printed capital letter M. When you use an em-dash, you should only use one at a time. The em-dash is excellent at setting off parenthetical thoughts.

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