This lesson will teach you how and when it is appropriate to use a dash mark. This lesson is based on punctuation.
Such as in this situation: You are the friend, the only friend, who offered to help me. You are the friend—the only friend—who offered to help me.
A dash is sometimes used to set off concluding lists and explanations in a more informal and abrupt manner than the colon
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like commas, semicolons, colons, ellipses, and parentheses, indicate an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought
There are three rules: Rule 1. Words and phrases between dashes are not generally part of the subject. Rule 2. Dashes replace otherwise mandatory punctuation, such as the commas Rule 3. Some writers and publishers prefer spaces around dashes.
When you SHOULD use a dash:
The dash mark can take the place of commas, parentheses, or colons. Each of these has a little bit different situation such as when you use it with commas you can use it to take the place of the comma. When using it with in place of parentheses it is considered less formal than the parentheses, they also bring a lot of attention. So if you are trying to have something stand out use dash marks. When using a dash mark for colons you use them to emphasize the conclusion of your sentence.
examples of when to use dash marks:
The beautiful mountains, cold weather, the lots of snow- this is what brought us to Colorado.
After all the falls she had on the run- all 6 of them-the girl finally gave up and sat down.
When you should NOT use a dash:
When you do not use a dash is when you want to be formal about something. Also using a dash brings a lot of attention to a sentence or paragraph, so if there is not a lot of attention or suprise in the story or whatever you may be writting it is a good idea not to use a dash. So not using a dash is more based on what your piece is about and how formal or informal you would like to be.