Using a Dash

The dash is created by typing two consecutive hyphens (hitting the minus key twice). There are a few uses for the dash.

Use a dash to indicate an abrupt stop or a change in tone or thought.

  • I have two dollars in my—Oh No! I think I left my purse at the mall!

Use a dash to insert a second thought, update, or a correction, as in a nonessential parenthetical element.

  • I would ask—or insist—that he bring his children to the party.

    Use a dash to emphasize a pause.

    • His face turned bright red when he walked through the wrong door—and interrupted the meeting.

    You can also use a dash in place of parenthesis.

    • I took Ninja Kitty—my favorite cat—to perform in the cat parade.

    And you can sometimes use a dash to replace a colon:

    • My fishbowl contains three things—water, rocks, and Mr. Wiggles.

    See a definition for dash.

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    Fleming, Grace. "Using a Dash." ThoughtCo, Jul. 9, 2014, thoughtco.com/using-a-dash-1857658. Fleming, Grace. (2014, July 9). Using a Dash. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/using-a-dash-1857658 Fleming, Grace. "Using a Dash." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/using-a-dash-1857658 (accessed November 19, 2017).