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    • Join Date: Oct 2005
    • Posts: 55
    #1

    Question Dashes, Commas

    Hi,
    I get confused about when to use dashes. I've looked in two handbooks on this. There are times when I think I'm using it correct, but other times I not sure if adding them in the right places?
    Am I using the dashes correct in this sentence?

    Example:
    These were rough years for King and Tabby, often their child Naomi would get ear infections which did not help their—already—poor financial situation.

    or should it be...

    These were rough years for King and Tabby, often their child Naomi would get ear infections which did not help their—already—poor—financial situation.

    or

    These were rough years for King and Tabby, often their child Naomi would get ear infections which did not help their—already—poor, financial situation.

    or

    These were rough years for King and Tabby, often their child Naomi would get ear infections which did not help their, already—poor—financial situation.

    or

    These were rough years for King and Tabby, often their child Naomi would get ear infections which did not help their, already—poor financial situation.

    Sorry, but there are so many options

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,215
    #2

    Re: Dashes, Commas

    Hi Starstreams,
    You seem to be confusing dashes -- which are used to separate text for empahsis, to change the flow, or to add additional information as I am here -- with hyphens. (I can't seem to make a dash in here so I am using two hyphens together.

    In your sentence, These... Tabby is an independent clause, and "often... situation is aslo an independent clause. To separate them, you cannot use a comma. You need either a period/full stop, a semi-colon, a conjunction, or... a dash!

    Use use of the hyphen is to join two (or more) words that work together to modify an noun.

    So, your final product:
    These were rough years for Kind and Tabby -- often, their child Naomi would get ear infections, which did not help their [no comma] already-poor financial situation.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 30-Apr-2007 at 05:29.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #3

    Re: Dashes, Commas

    Ex: These were rough years for King and Tabby. Their child Naomi would often get ear infections, which (by the way) did not help their already poor financial situation.

    I agree with Barb. The first comma is a splice, and a comma is needed before which. In addition, often would make more sense if you moved it closer to the word it modifies; e.g., Their child Naomi would often get ear infections. As for the dashes, they don't really serve any purpose around the adverb already. If you want to emphasize that word, put it in italics.

    Here's a great resource: The Dash in English

    All the best.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: Dashes, Commas



    • Join Date: Oct 2005
    • Posts: 55
    #5

    Thumbs up Re: Dashes, Commas

    Another good link!
    thanks Cosiopea!

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #6

    Re: Dashes, Commas

    You're most welcome for the link.

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