Making the Dash Work for You
October 25, 2001
In The Elements
of Style, Strunk and White advise us to, "Use a dash to set off an
abrupt break or interruption, and to announce a long appositive or
summary." Further, they say that a "dash is a mark of separation
stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than
Examples of the Dash:
His most common way to learn English—if it could be called a way to
learn—was to spend hours working with an electronic translation
dictionary. (as an abrupt break; parentheses could also be used)
The windshield wipers began to make a noise—a squeaking racket that set
his teeth on edge. (as an informal colon)
Write about a time you were in a great hurry. Use the word "dash" as a
verb in your writing. As well, use the dash as a mark of punctuation in
both ways-as an interruption and as a replacement for a colon.
Teacher Writing Sample on this topic.
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