FAQ: When to use an em dash?

What is an em dash and when do you use it?

An em-dash is typically used as a stand-in for a comma or parenthesis to separate out phrases—or even just a word—in a sentence for various reasons (e.g. a parenthetical; an ersatz-ellipsis). Examples where an em-dash should be used: School is based on the three R’s—reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic.

How do you use an em dash in a sentence?

The em dash can be used in place of a colon when you want to emphasize the conclusion of your sentence. The dash is less formal than the colon. After months of deliberation, the jurors reached a unanimous verdict⁠—guilty. The white sand, the warm water, the sparkling sun⁠—this is what brought them to Fiji.

When should you use dashes in a sentence?

Dashes To set off material for emphasis. Think of dashes as the opposite of parentheses. To indicate sentence introductions or conclusions. To mark “bonus phrases.” Phrases that add information or clarify but are not necessary to the meaning of a sentence are ordinarily set off with commas. To break up dialogue.

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

When to Use Em Dashes The em dash (about as wide as an uppercase M), is a relatively artistic punctuation mark, compared to the more technical hyphen and en dash. An em dash is most often used to indicate a pause in a sentence. It’s stronger than a comma, but weaker than a period or semicolon.

How do I type an em dash?

To make an em dash, press and hold Alt, then type 0151.

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How do I insert an em dash?

Make an em dash or en dash with a keyboard shortcut less simple: you need to use an alt code to get an em dash. If you have a numeric keyboard, hold down the Alt key and type 0151 for an em dash or 0150 for an en dash.

How do I insert an em dash in Word?

Hold down the [Alt] key and type 0151 on the numeric keypad. Choose Symbol from the Insert menu, click the Special Characters tab, highlight the em dash, and click Insert.

What does an em dash mean?

or em dash (ĕm′dăsh′) A symbol ( — ) used in writing and printing to indicate a break in thought or sentence structure, to introduce a phrase added for emphasis, definition, or explanation, or to separate two clauses.

How do you use a dash instead of a comma?

Use Dashes in Place of a Comma Em dashes can be used in pairs to replace commas when writing a parenthetical or interruptive phrase. The dashes have a slightly more emphatic feel, making the reader focus on this information that is set inside the special marks.

What are some examples of semicolons?

Examples of Semicolons: Joan likes eggs; Jennifer does not. The cat slept through the storm; the dog cowered under the bed. Semicolons are also used in a sentence when something stronger than a comma is needed.

What do dashes mean in writing?

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.

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What do dashes mean in poetry?

Dickinson went a little jiggy with it, admittedly, but in poetry and prose alike, the dash is a freewheelin’ punctuation mark. The Parenthetical Dash can stand in for a pair of commas or parentheses. The Pause Dash can take the place of a period, comma, semicolon — or nothing at all!

What is em dash example?

Use em dashes in place of commas or parentheses to create a break in a sentence. Examples: Please call my lawyer—Richard Smith—on Tuesday. This sentence could also be written with commas or parentheses.

Do you need spaces around an en dash?

The en dash is used to represent a span or range of numbers, dates, or time. There should be no space between the en dash and the adjacent material.

What is a 3 em dash?

Create a 3 – em dash by entering the em dash three times or six hyphens. You can find the em dash in the symbol drop-down menu in Microsoft Word. Alternatively, press CTRL + ALT + minus key on the numeric keypad, three times. If you’re using the proper font (Times New Roman 12), the three dashes will make a solid line.

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