[Home] [Weblog] [The Bibliothecary] [Driving the Quill] [Library][Bookmarks]

Friday, December 2, 2005

Chapter Sixty-Six, in which your Bibliothecary is a Punctuation Mark


There's no denying that you have a certain flair. You don't mind being around others, especially your little brother, the hyphen, but you rarely emerge except when needed. You respond well to those who know how to treat you, but have only contempt for those who don't--you tend to embarass them every chance you get. Your only enemy is the colon--he will sometimes try to move in on your turf.

Ahthe Dash. Why not use a comma? Why not a colon? Why not the perfectly serviceable period? Is there a punctuation mark that is any more misunderstood?

In appearance, the dash is long and straight. However, according to Patricia T. O'Conner in Woe Is I, the dash is, in actuality, a detour. Okayso I am off the beaten path. One begins along a sentence and then suddenly I appear, pointing in another direction. In this way do I add emphasis to key components within a sentenceI cause one to pause and really concentrate on what is to follow.


  1. as you may well know, i love the em dash. love it. it conveys a certain....something...what? a joie de vivre? a sassiness? an "i have something interesting to say but can't be bothered with serious punctuation" attitude? i'm glad you see it (or do you?) as something that creates (hopefully) pause for the reader. every lit professor and editor in my life has not seen it quite that way. they loathe my overuse of the beloved em dash.

  2. The dash is one of my favorite punctuation marks. I have to be very careful not to over use it.

  3. the dash is a very nice means for an intersentence detour, but, unfortunately, it gets overused sometimes too. :)