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Monday, July 13, 2009

Poll Results 44

Here was the question:

In which sentence are em dashes used incorrectly?

I spent $1,000--can you believe it?--at the mall. 11 (14%)
I love you--Do you love me too?--I hope so. 32 (42%)
Don't come around here anymore--unless you're coming to pay back the money you owe me. 20 (26%)
If you see her--or hear from her--please let me know. 7 (9%)
Beats me. I don't know how to use em dashes. 6 (7%)

Congrats to 42% of you. You can't use em dashes like periods, as they are in the second sentence. Em dashes indicate you're adding a quick aside. You can use a pair of em dashes around an aside in the middle of a sentence, as in the first and fourth examples, or you can use an em dash to add an aside at the end, as in the third example. One way to tell if you're using an em dash correctly is to to remove the em dash(es) and the aside. If the sentence still makes sense, then the em dash(es) is/are OK.

You can see em dashes everywhere. Notice in novels how they are used.

1 comment:

momma's heart said...

I recently started using these dashes and was wondering if my usage was correct. Not knowing what they were called, I couldn't find any information. Thanks for this post!

I added you to my sidebar for further learning!