An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. - Benjamin Franklin

91-70694 69597

Em dash or Long dash (—)

An em dash or long dash (—) is lengthier than an en dash (–) and three times as lengthy as a hyphen (-). It is one of the most versatile and useful punctuation marks. Subject to the context, the em dash can replace or can take the place of commas, parentheses, semicolons, colons, or ellipses—in each case to some extent with some different outcome.

When to use em dash:

To indicate info or ideas those are not necessary to an acknowledgment or understanding of the rest of the sentence:

  • Thousands of polar bears—like the bear in this magazine—are suffering due to distressing effects of global warming.
  • My mom—where is she?—would like to meet you in person.
  • This is the dress, — which was on display in that store — I am going to wear on your wedding.
  • No, leave it—that’s my job, anyway.

To show other kinds of break in a sentence where a comma, semicolon, ellipses or colon could have been used traditionally:

  • One thing is certain—she doesn’t want to face the reality.
  • I wish you would come to my party—it’s ok, never mind.
  • You are my true well-wisher—the only friend—who helped me to overcome my illness.
  • My friend’s niece Sara—daughter of my friend’s sister—the CEO of my company has taken our company to a new height.

Keep in mind that there is no space added on either side of an em dash. Dashes are quite common in informal writing, such as personal emails or blogs, but when someone is using it in formal writing, it is better to use them very carefully.