The dash has only one major use:
- To use in pairs to separate a strong interruption from the rest of the sentence (a strong interruption, as opposed to a weak interruption, is one which forcefully disrupts the flow of the sentence and, as such, it usually contains a verb rather simply being a phrase) [All nations desire econmic growth – some even achieve it – but it is easier said than done.]
Note: Only one dash is used if the strong interruption comes at the beginning or the end of the sentence. [We earnestly desire peace for all nations of the world – and we will work hard for it.]
There are several minor uses of the dash:
- To add emphasis or drama [He said that he would go – and he did.]
- To indicate a range of numbers [900-1000]
- To link two connected words [the Sydney-Melbourne train]
- To indicate an abrupt break in thought.
Example: The truth is–and you probably know it–we can’t do without you.
- Use a dash to meanÂ namely,Â in other words, orÂ that is before an explanation.
Example: It was a close call–if he had been in a worse mood, I don’t think I’d still be here.
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