Friday, November 13, 2015

Em Dash Abuse

I am an em dash abuser. I tend to use the quick symbol all over the place. I type in em dashes wherever a comma would suffice. Sigh.

In The Elements of Style, Strunk and White said, "A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses."

I think my em dash habit is due--in part--to the way I speak. I speak in em dashes!

I have a few examples from The Keeper's Promise below. You see how I originally typed each phrase and how I fixed them.

This was why Bryce loved Shucker's Point--why he had stayed here when many others had left.

It now reads:

This was why Bryce loved Shucker's Point, and why he had stayed here when many others had left.

Sometimes I didn't really need the em dash at all.

that she wasn't a vicious killer--or a psychopath.

Just one simple conjunction works fine:

that she wasn't a vicious killer or a psychopath.

Everyone needs an editor. I have been very grateful for mine.

4 comments:

Sage Lily said...

I tend to use the em dash a lot also.

Leann said...

I too am a em dash abuser.

Julie b Cosgrove said...

I love 'em, too.

Penelope Marzec said...

Julie B Cosgrove:

I guess we're all attached to them. :-)