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    #1

    Grammar corrected

    Hi there

    I have a question, I noticed this a lot in books, I am not sure when and how to use this symbol ( - ) , can someone please help me with this

    " an unforgivable career mistake: growing old in advertising. I was devastated to have my reason for being - my sense of self - taken away.

    I literally burst into tears after I heard the fateful news.

    Yet I could not tell anybody the truth of what I was feeling. If you complain of bad treatment in corporate America, it is like being breaking the oath of silence in the Mafia - you will experience a quick death in your profession - you will never be hired again. "

    Thanks lots

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Grammar corrected

    It's called a dash. Dashes are asides. They're stronger than commas but weaker than parentheses. They can be on both sides of a phrase or start a phrase that ends with a period. The sentences they're in would still make sense if you deleted the phrase, but the phrase gives you more information.

    For instance, in your first example, "my sense of self" is just a different way of saying "my reason for being." The addition of "my sense of self" just helps clarify what the writer is trying to say.

    In your second example, there are actually two phrases that amplify the original thought. That's unusual, but there's nothing wrong with it. If you read it aloud, I think you'll find that it sounds natural.

    Formal writing doesn't often use them, but informal writing, like your examples, does.

    Does that answer your question?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: Grammar corrected

    Oh yes, thanks for spelling that out, do i really need to care about it since i rarely see it in normal writing like email, essay and such, only in books. Your explain does help really, thanks again

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Grammar corrected

    Quote Originally Posted by danghuynh88 View Post
    Oh yes, thanks for spelling that out. Do I really need to care about it since I rarely see it in normal writing like emails, essays and such, only in books? Your explain explanation really does help. really, Thanks again.
    Please note my corrections above. It's important to capitalise the word "I" every time you write it. I wouldn't worry too much about that usage of dashes - now you understand how they're used, you'll recognise them in writing but you don't need to study it.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: Grammar corrected

    Yeah thanks, duly noted. I wish my teacher could correct my essay just like you - It would be perfect and help improving my writing a lot.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Grammar corrected

    Quote Originally Posted by danghuynh88 View Post
    Yeah Thanks, duly noted. I wish my teacher could would correct my essay just like you - it would be perfect and would help improving to improve my writing a lot.
    Note my amendments above. Please don't use non-standard words like "Yeah" on the forum. It's "Yes". However, it was not required at all in that sentence.
    We don't use a capital letter after a dash unless the next word is a proper noun or the word "I".

    What sort of corrections does your teacher make to your essays?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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