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Using a Dash

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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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