In the thirty plus years that I’ve been editing the drafts of other writers, I’ve found the dash in its many forms to be the most misunderstood mark of punctuation. First of all, there is more than one type of dash. Second, each type is used for a different purpose. Third, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, the guide used by most trade publishing houses, no spaces appear before or after a dash with only one exception. Curious? As my contribution to the Rave Reviews Book Club’s mentoring program, from time to time in my blogs, I provide guidance on grammar and formatting. So, here it is: the mighty dash in its many uses.
Dashes Come in Several Sizes
The hyphen is the first dash to which we are introduced in grade school. It is commonly used to create compound adjectives and compound nouns as in:
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