Lesson: Dashes are best used like spices: in small amounts to add emphasis to what you're writing.
Dashes can take the place of commas or parentheses to set off part of a sentence. The difference is that they often add more emphasis than the other punctuation marks, or may indicate more informality in the writing.
Caution: To avoid overusing dashes, treat them like parentheses; use them only to open—and close—a phrase.
Example: The entire marketing department—from the manager to the assistants—worked together
to make this campaign a success.
Note: The most common dash is what is formally called the "em dash," which originally referred to a mark with the same width as a capital "M." An "en dash" is half that width—a bit longer than a hyphen—and is used to denote number ranges. Example: The information is on pages 2–5.
Peeved by a common error? Puzzled by perplexing grammar rules? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Grammar."
- 14 Tips on Business Etiquette No matches