“Staying in Place” order will be in effect for GVSU students living in Allendale Township from September 17 through October 1. Read more
Are you unsure where, how, or even when to use the dash? If so, here are some helpful hints regarding these pesky punctuation marks.
- Use two hyphens to form a dash (--).
- Do not put spaces before or after the dash.
- A dash marks a decided change in the thought or direction of a sentence.
- Can be used to insert secondary material.
1. Break in Thought:
Everything that went wrong—from the car crash last night to the lost cat this morning—we blamed on our bad luck.
2. Appositives (a noun or noun phrase that renames a nearby noun):
It was my aunt—the one with the glass eye—who sent the five-dollar bill in my Christmas card.
3. Summaries and Lists:
After the hurricane, the people were in need of the most basic necessities—clothing, food, fresh water, and personal care items.
4. Finale (to give the sentence extra lift or importance):
She has always wanted to become a doctor—and she did.
Q. Why did you leave without me?
A. Well, I forgot to—
Q. How could you forget to find me?
6. Attribution (usually a memorable line quoted by someone):
“To thine own self be true.”
Tip: Sometimes commas, colons, semicolons, and even parenthesis can be used in place of a dash. Unless there is a specific reason for using the dash, avoid it. Unnecessary dashes create a choppy effect.
Have other questions? Stop in and visit! Or call us at 331-2922.