Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 54, Issue 16

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 54, Issue 16
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 11:15:00 +0300

> On Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 9:59 AM, Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com> wrote:

>> However, I seem to be the only one that doesn't care if a dash is a
>> regular dash, an en dash an em dash or a hot dog dash. If I need a dash
>> I just tap the dash key on the keyboard as I figure that's its purpose.
>>

My apologies to the many of you who already know the difference in
various punctuation. It seems a few may have skipped that part of
their English classes...

While it is true that language grows simpler as time passes, some
things are lost in the process.

Dashes of various types serve a function that is increasingly not
appreciated. However, they are very analogous to the various other
types of stop punctuation--from the brief pause of the comma, the
slightly longer one for the semicolon, longer still with the colon,
and a "full stop" with the period. The language distinguishes between
them, as they are used for slightly different purposes rather than
just a break in the action, as it were.

Similar distinctions exist between the various dash figures, from
hyphen to en dash to em dash. The "dash" figure on the keyboard is
simply a hyphen, quite different from a full dash and used differently
as well. As you should be aware, the hyphen is most often to combine
words into compound ideas.

Traditionally, on typewriters, the hyphen figure was repeated to
represent an actual dash: "--"

Thus, since there is no "dash key on the keyboard"--what do you do
instead? I suppose you could happily discard the semicolon and
possibly even the colon, contenting yourself with only the comma and
period?

David

David
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