Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Dash

The alphabet post thing looks like fun, so I'll give it a whirl.
D is for Dash.

Wendy Swore encouraged me to use an em dash in my last story. I had to figure out how to type it on my computer and though I'm sure Annette Lyon had talked about it scores of time in her grammar classes, I had to look it up again. The Chicago Manual of Style says "The em dash is used "to denote a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure."

On my Mac, I can create an em dash by pressing down the alt key and the minus key. I don't know what your computer does. Good luck.

An en dash (which sounds pretty much like em dash and so confuses poor hapless fools like myself), "is used to connect continuing, or inclusive, numbers -- dates, time, or reference numbers." Taken again from the Chicago Manual of Style.

The difference between the two dashes is the length of the dash. An em dash is the size of an m or three dashes and the en dash is the size of an n, or three dashes.

Then there's dine and dash, which refers to eating and running. The rash dash, which is done when one has made a rash decision and has to flee. The rash dash of course could have a dermatological meaning, for example the dash to the E.R. after a person has fallen in poison ivy.

No pets or people were harmed in the writing of this post.


Rebecca said...

Funny post!

I love em dashes, and use them a lot in my writing. However, my laptop won't make an em dash, so I only can create them in Word. Sad.

ali said...

ROFL Ah, Cathy, you always make me smile!

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