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Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales

Em dash with other punctuation

Rather than have its own unique usage, the em dash is typically used in place of several other punctuation marks: the comma, the colon, the semicolon, or the parentheses. In general, it is not considered to be grammatically correct or incorrect to use an em dash over any of the punctuation marks or vice versa.

How do you punctuate after an em dash?

Depending on the context, the em dash can take the place of commas, parentheses, or colons⁠—in each case to slightly different effect. Notwithstanding its versatility, the em dash is best limited to two appearances per sentence. Otherwise, confusion rather than clarity is likely to result.

Can you use an em dash and a comma in the same sentence?

Use an Em Dash to Set Off Appositives that Contain Commas

Commas are usually used to offset the appositive, but if the appositive contains one or more commas, adding additional commas would be confusing for the reader.

How do you use an em dash correctly?

The em-dash can be used to replace parentheses, colons, and commas. Generally, using the em- dash makes the writing style more informal—as if you were writing to an old friend. Create an em dash by typing two hyphens without spaces between the hyphens and no spaces before or after the hyphens.

How do you use an em dash in the middle of a sentence?

To Indicate an Interruption or Change in Thought

Particularly useful when writing dialogue, an em dash can be used to indicate interjections or changes in thought mid-sentence. This technique is best used in creative or informal writing. Examples: As I was saying—Katie, no, put the scissors down!

How do you use a dash and a comma?

Quote from video: In this case you're drawing more emphasis to it with the dashes. You could also have commas there but it wouldn't give it as much emphasis.

What’s the difference between a hyphen and an em dash?

A hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark that’s used to join words or parts of words. It’s not interchangeable with other types of dashes. A dash is longer than a hyphen and is commonly used to indicate a range or a pause. The most common types of dashes are the en dash (–) and the em dash (—).

How do you use a dash in a sentence examples?

Dashes are also used to mark the interruption of a sentence in dialogue: Example: “Help! This horse is going too fast,” the actor yelled. “I think I am fall—.”

Is there a space before and after an em dash?

Most writers (and style guides) use the em-dash without spaces on either side.

What is an ellipsis example?

John saw two hawks in the sky, and Bill saw three. This is an example of a noun phrase ellipsis because “hawks” is omitted from the noun phrase “three hawks.” Notice that when a noun phrase ellipsis is used, the word or words that are omitted from one clause appear in the other clause.

How do you end a sentence with an em dash?

Punctuation: Parentheses and the em dash

Can I use a comma after a dash?

If the clause is within a sentence – like this one – both dashes are necessary. That sentence could be written If the clause is within a sentence, both dashes are necessary – with or without the comma. The comma is not necessary.

What are the 3 uses of the dash?


  • To set off material for emphasis. Think of dashes as the opposite of parentheses. …
  • To indicate sentence introductions or conclusions. …
  • To mark “bonus phrases.” Phrases that add information or clarify but are not necessary to the meaning of a sentence are ordinarily set off with commas. …
  • To break up dialogue.

How do you use different types of dashes?

The most common types of dashes are the en dash (–) and the em dash (—). A good way to remember the difference between these two dashes is to visualize the en dash as the length of the letter N and the em dash as the length of the letter M.

What is an example of a dash in a sentence?

Dashes replace otherwise mandatory punctuation, such as the commas after Iowa and 2020 in the following examples: Without dash: The man from Ames, Iowa, arrived. With dash: The man—he was from Ames, Iowa—arrived. Without dash: The May 1, 2020, edition of the Ames Sentinel arrived in June.