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Why the em-dash should be your best friend

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As part of my job at SocialCops, I read and edit lots of content. Em-dashes are one of the most frequent issues I see. Everyone loves to use em-dashes because they're so powerful, but getting them right can be tricky.

PS. We're always looking to hire great content writers at SocialCops. If you're the sort of person who likes to read about em-dashes in your spare time, we'd love to talk to you. Check it out: https://jobs.lever.co/socialcops.

Publicado en: Educación
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Why the em-dash should be your best friend

  1. Why the em-dash should be your best friend
  2. Can take the place of a pair of commas, brackets, colons, and semicolons Spans, ranges, direction, conflict In chapters 8–12 From 2008–2014 Mumbai–Delhi railway BJP–Congress debate Joins separate words into a single word lunch is free for all free-for-all lunch lunch is a free-for-all
  3. Sentences with 1 em-dash There are many things I love about SocialCops: the blogs, the email newsletters and the grammar TOTs. Replacing a colon There are many things I love about SocialCops — the blogs, the email newsletters and the grammar TOTs.
  4. Sentences with 1 em-dash Replacing a colon I have three favorite foods — eggs, eggs and eggs. a complete sentence a list
  5. Sentences with 1 em-dash Replacing a colon There’s one thing I hate about work — the quiet. a complete sentence single-item list
  6. Sentences with 1 em-dash SocialCops really knows how to party; we call it Friday Demos. Replacing a semicolon (joins two sentences of equal significance) (joins two sentences to show a connection between them) SocialCops really knows how to party — we call it Friday Demos.
  7. Sentences with 1 em-dash We love data — it’s our passion and best friend. a complete sentence Replacing a semicolon (joins two sentences of equal significance) (joins two sentences to show a connection between them) a complete sentence
  8. Sentences with 1 em-dash [A complete sentence goes here] — [this can be a single-item list, multi-item list or another complete sentence]. The general rule
  9. Sentences with 1 em-dash This is what brought me to SocialCops — the demos, the awesome tech and captains ball. The demos, the awesome tech and captains ball — this is what brought me to SocialCops. Pro tip Invert your list with an em-dash for emphasis. (You can’t do this with a colon!)
  10. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples I think Viz might make it easier for you to do what you do every day — and tell great data stories.
  11. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples I think Viz might make it easier for you to do what you do every day — and tell great data stories. I think Viz might make it easier for you to do what you do every day — tell great data stories. ↓
  12. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples I think Viz is the most powerful tool on the market because of its sophisticated features — maps at every level, beautiful templates, simple customization and easy embeds.
  13. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples I think Viz is the most powerful tool on the market because of its sophisticated features — maps at every level, beautiful templates, simple customization and easy embeds. No problems! ↑
  14. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples After 1800 cups of coffee, 80 all-nighters and 50,000 lines of code, we are ready for the launch of Viz 2.0 — with a lot of cool and powerful features.
  15. Sentences with 1 em-dash Examples After 1800 cups of coffee, 80 all-nighters and 50,000 lines of code, we are ready for the launch of Viz 2.0 — with a lot of cool and powerful features. Doesn’t work. The author likely added this because they wanted to put a comma, but they thought there were too many commas already. ↑
  16. Spans, ranges, direction, conflict In chapters 8–12 From 2008–2014 Mumbai–Delhi railway BJP–Congress debate Joins separate words into a single word lunch is free for all free-for-all lunch lunch is a free-for-all Can take the place of a pair of commas, brackets, colons, and semicolons An em-dash is not a comma
  17. Sentences with 1 em-dash Break up the sentence or simplify it: 1800 cups of coffee, 80 all-nighters and 50,000 lines of code later, we are ready to launch Viz 2.0 with lots of cool and powerful features. or In the last four months, we drank 1800 cups of coffee, pulled 80 all-nighters and wrote 50,000 lines of code. Now we are ready for the launch of Viz 2.0, with a lot of cool and powerful features.
  18. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Replacing brackets or commas Collect, a mobile data collection tool, is used by 140 partners around the world. Collect (a mobile data collection tool) is used by 140 partners around the world. Collect — a mobile data collection tool — is used by 140 partners around the world.
  19. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Replacing brackets or commas Collect — a mobile data collection tool — is used by 140 partners around the world. Collect is used by 140 partners around the world. What’s outside the em-dashes must make sense on its own.
  20. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Replacing brackets or commas Collect is a mobile data collection tool — used by BMGF, Tata Trusts, Unilever and Goonj — most of whom joined last year.
  21. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Replacing brackets or commas Collect is a mobile data collection tool — used by BMGF, Tata Trusts, Unilever and Goonj — most of whom joined last year. Collect is a mobile data collection tool most of whom joined last year. Not correct! ↑
  22. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Replacing brackets or commas Collect is a mobile data collection tool — used by BMGF, Tata Trusts, Unilever and Goonj — most of whom joined last year. Collect is a mobile data collection tool used by BMGF, Tata Trusts, Unilever and Goonj, most of whom joined last year. ↓
  23. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Example I know you’re super busy — not sure if you’ve had a chance to check out Viz — the easiest way to build maps.
  24. Sentences with 2 em-dashes Example I know you’re super busy — not sure if you’ve had a chance to check out Viz — the easiest way to build maps. I know you’re super busy. I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to check out Viz, the easiest way to build maps. ↓
  25. Last notes Em-dashes are powerful, but only when you use them purposefully.

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