How to use the dash ?

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 mean namely, in other words, or 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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