Dashes In English

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A dash is used to emphasise what follows.

Use dashes sparingly: not more than a pair per sentences in informal writing and (if possible) not more than a pair per paragraph in formal writing.

Note:
Some computer programs cannot display dashes (–). In this case, type two hyphens (--).
There is no blank before or after a dash in English.

Dashes for Change of Topic or Structure
  • Use a dash for a change of topic within a sentence.
    • Example: This is very important–are you listening to me?
  • Use a dash if the information that follows is surprising and unexpected.
    • Example: We went shopping in London–and met Robbie Williams.

Dashes in Dialogues
  • Use a dash to show hesitation.
    • Example: I–I–I don't know.

Dashes in Summaries and Additional Information
  • Use a dash to indicate a summarising clause.
    • Example: Jane, Daniel, Susan and I–we all were taken aback.
  • Use a dash to indicate an emphasised addition.
    • Beispiel: He prayed to his God–to Allah.
  • Use a dash to enclose emphasised additional information which interrupts the normal progression of the sentence.
    • Example: He wanted us–Caron, Susan and me–to meet his family.

Note:
Depending on the importance attached to it, additional information can be enclosed in brackets, commas or dashes.
  • Brackets - not important
    • Connor (Amy's boyfriend) bought the tickets.
  • Commas - neutral
    • Connor, Amy's boyfriend, bought the tickets.
  • Dashes - emphasised
    • Connor–Amy's boyfriend–bought the tickets.
 
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