Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Dash Away All!

Lance Larsen,  a great poet and one of my old professors, once commented in our workshop that "there's no passion in a semicolon."

Do punctuation marks in fact have personalities or at least reputations?  What do you think? (Is that a rhetorical question?)

I think they do.  The semicolon is formal.  Exclamation points are heavy handed.  A period suggests unarguable finality (more so in metaphorical speech than on paper).  Dashes are poetic and informal.

Here's a tip on creating a dash.  There isn't a dash key on the keyboard, so you'll need to use the hyphen key, but don't just type a hyphen.  Type two hyphens in a row without spaces before between or after them.

Like so:

I like--and I always will--Nutella straight out of the jar.

A neat thing is that if you do the hyphens as explained above, Word magically merges them for you.  Watch and see!


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