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Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Dash Away, Dash Away...."

Dancer, Vixen, and Prancer may know the three simple rules for using dashes, but do you?  Good writers should know when to use the dash. (For those of you who don't know, a dash on a keyboard is made by typing two hyphens next to each other!) 

So, check out the following rules, and "Dash away!"

1.  Use the dash to indicate an abrupt break in thought.


The poor condition of this road -- you can feel every bump as you ride along -- makes it inconvenient for those who have no alternate route.

The real villain turns out to be -- but I don't want to spoil the ending for those of you who have not yet seen the movie.

2.  Use a dash to set off parenthetical material.


Very few people in this class -- three to be exact -- have completed their projects.

3.  Use a dash to mean namely, in other words, that is, and similar expressions that precede explanations.


She joined the chorus for only one reason -- she loved to sing.

*Note:  The dash and colon are often interchangeable in this use covered in the last rule.  A dash may be considered more emphatic than a colon. 

So, my dear writers, now that you know the rules, dash to your keyboard and begin using a dash now and then in your writing.

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