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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

For Your Consideration: The Em Dash

http://www.slate.com/id/2295413/

The link above is making the rounds among editorial types. Personally, I have a feeling this contributor's writing would be tedious under any circumstances. When you've made your point intellectually and graphically within the first three paragraphs, and then proceed to drive the point into the ground and break it off, you've gone on far too long for me.

As with all kinds of writing, judicious use of whatever tools are at the writer's disposal is crucial. That statement refers not only to dashes but to words themselves.

2 comments:

Fleurdeleo said...

I am a promiscuous dash and parentheses user, so found this interesting. W a y too long, though, I agree!

czar said...

Fleur: I like dashes as well. The only place I really don't like them is in place of the semicolon. Had a managing editor at a university press once tell me that he even thought putting an em dash after a comma was acceptable, as one sees often in works from, say, 100 to 150 years ago. Not sure I agree with that either, but since he was sending me work, I didn't see fit to disagree.