Shortcuts to better Google searches thestarpress.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Damon Dash Remembers the Day He Lost Jay-Z New York Magazine Take a look at an interesting article we found.
E-mail too salty for Bloomberg New York Post Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Harry Truman was, perhaps, the most modest man ever to become president.
January 22, 2010
Picking up our Friday Lite Language series, after a brief respite—well maybe not that brief, we attempt to tackle those little irritants of punctuation—the dash and its little cousin, the hyphen.
Since it’s getting confusing—very.
There’s a current debate as to whether one should write the term for electronic mail with or without a hyphen — i.e., e-mail or email.
A while ago I read that programmer, Ray Tomlinson, the first person to send an email, claimed the word shouldn’t have a hyphen.
All those needless key strokes, he said— if you added them up you'd have billions of wasted motions every year.
Made sense to me; I stopped putting the hyphen in.
Now I see The New York Times has put the hyphen back in and calling it e-mail.
The hyphen ( - ) is often confused with dashes ( —, ― ), which are longer and even more annoying.
If I was more able-minded I’d be able to explain it more fully.
But I'll make the attempt.
We don't have just one dash, we have the em dash (—), so named because it's the width of the letter "M" and the wimpier en dash (–), which is the width of the letter—well, you guessed it.
On old fashioned typewriters, we had to make an em dash like this. [ -- ]
The em dash denotes a pause in thought, a parenthetical statement, or — more casually — an afterthought.
The only reason it’s not used that properly is that many people don't know how to make it.
(In most word-processors, it's created by holding down the option key and hitting the key that has the underline mark above the hyphen.)
The en dash is mostly used to indicate a range of numbers, like pages 12–549.
Or, as in the Jets upset the Colts, 24-21. (Not that I know anything.)
The easiest definition I've heard is that the en dash connects. While the em dash separates.
Just remember not to use dashes when commas would do because the comma will get very annoyed.
An angry colon is another matter entirely; especially if it's mistaken for a semicolon.
Other dashing characters include the tilde (~), the underscore (_) and the Armenian hyphen (֊), which you probably don't need to know about.
Some of these ingenious little figures are credited to Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century and the publication of his 42-line Bible.
Punctuation is really a series of conventions that help us communicate and I don’t see why we have to pay strict attention to the rules—since nobody knows them anyway.
I still refuse to put the hyphen back into email.
I won't be bullied—then again...
About Dickinson's Use of the Dash english.illinois Take a look at an interesting article we found.
History of the English Language englishclub.com Take a look at an interesting article we found.
History of the Punctuation of English Writing sjsu.edu Take a look at an interesting article we found.
Most irritating punctuation mark?