A recent spate of tweets from a regrettably well known person included something uncharacteristic that caught some people’s eyes:
You know, an en dash.
Well, some of you know, anyway. The editors sure do. One of the definitions of “editor,” after all, is “Someone who knows all the dashes and how to use each one.” But many other people are variably flummoxed by the assortment of floating horizontal lines available.
I’m an editor and I’m here to help. Presenting my latest article for The Week:
Dashes and hyphens: A comprehensive guide
My article this week for TheWeek.com is on dashes – the title is rather provocative, but the text is useful:
To go with it, I present another poem from my book Songs of Love and Grammar:
My boyfriend is the dashing type.
He writes – whips off – with vim – and hype.
He goes – he comes – cycle completing –
and yet – I feel – he may be cheating.
Last week he sent a note – “Dear N –
I hope – so soon – we join – again!”
But then – missent – another too –
“Dear M—can’t wait—to meet—with you!”
From N – to M—his life’s a whirl!
He’s dashing—yes – from girl to girl!
I think I should have picked a man
with more breath & attention span.
I’ll find & marry someone bland
who’ll come & stay with ampersand.