A dash is an incredibly versatile piece of punctuation. An em dash is used to indicate a break in sentence flow. "It's stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon and more relaxed than parentheses." - Strunk & White. Yes! I love that explanation of the dash. It’s spot on.
There is a little more to using a dash properly than this simple statement though, and those misunderstandings are what I correct often as a copyeditor. For example, did you know that with book editing when you use an em dash there are no spaces before or after it? But that online and in magazines there is? ⠀
These small mistakes are what is a glaring indication of if professional editing was performed or not. But here’s something interesting about the em dash, it’s not on the key board. It’s like a secret society to be able to use it. A total “if you know, you know” sitchy going on. Or you could just google it. 🙃⠀
💡There are a few shortcuts — I’ll let you in on a few:⠀
Em dash (—): Shift-Alt-hyphen or Command + -⠀
Em dash (—): Alt+Ctrl+ - (minus)⠀
You can also set up editing exceptions to be able to hit the hyphen twice and have it become an em dash. ⠀
Confession — I play favorites. The em-dash (—) is one that gets picked first for my team. 💘 I like it’s power to elevate a sentence. Do you use it? Let me know in the comments. I know ... it’s a lot. But these things are what a professional copy editor takes off of your plate. ⠀
Are you at the point where you need to hire an editor? Shoot me a message. Let’s chat.
P.S. The painting behind Luna is by @brooklyndolly . I know. I’m obsessed. It was my 40th birthday gift from my brother. ❤️
*Original post on Instagram @andreajasmineditor. #editingtipswiththeplantfam