Just what I need... Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)
. For the record, I violate all of these -- I'm not proud of it, but then none of us are. Also, at times I've resolved to stop using the hyphen altogether; it's superfluous and moderately barbaric (akin to hurling a spear from one clause to the next). But it's such
a good option when one can't figure out whether a semicolon or comma is the best option. Ho hum...
Oh yes, I meant the "emdash", not the hyphen. Meanwhile, Ezra quotes
from a rousing defense of the little bugger: "By its very shape the dash pushes the sentence ahead and explains why they decided to keep going." That's correct, I guess, but it's also plainly wrong
. Using the dash to "keep going" is like running the 3k, faltering halfway through, and then digging deep for a burst of energy that lurches you onwards, stumbling towards the finish. You get there, sure, but it's painful to watch. Far better to train ahead of time and run the whole race smoothly, using, um, only commas... and semicolons... Oh whatever.