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Further Uses of the dash (–)

This is a continuation of the lesson on the hyphen and the dash. The uses of the dash will be treated in this lesson.

Uses of the Dash (–)[edit | edit source]

  • Sometimes in written English, there is a necessity for a whole sentence to interrupt or enter into another sentence in order to pass across the complete message without ambiguity. An example:
    • The rivers – I cannot remember all their names – have been dredged.
  • The dash is used to show a break in a complete sentence.
    • If he entered through the door, he must still be in there – so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
  • At times, a single placed between a repeated word is used to emphasize the repeated word. An example:
    • The boy made new friends – friends that are more harm than good.
  • A single dash can be used to set aside a summary or compile a list of items. For example:
    • Vanilla, flour, eggs, nutmeg – these are necessary in baking a cake.
    • She bought three items – a cake tin, a spatula and an egg whisk.
  • Dashes can also appear in pairs in a sentence. In order to indicate an explanatory part of a sentence or an afterthought, two dashes can be used like parentheses. An example:
    • Everybody – including children – couldn’t eat the cake because it was filled with sugar.


NmesomtoChukwu and Vincent

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