Do you often wonder if you're using dashes properly? Dashes have distinct uses that often seem blurred in today's society. Here's what's best for writers and those involved in business writing. Q. When do I use a dash in text? A. A dash usually replaces a comma, semicolon, colon, or parentheses. When used this way, it creates an EMPHATIC separation of words. Since a dash is versatile, people tend to use it to punctuate almost any break in a sentence. Don't. It's best used for EFFECT. And experts say we should never type a single hyphen to represent a "double" dash (em dash). Author Amy Einsohn says, "The dash is best reserved for special effects: to prepare readers for a punchline or a U-turn." The Chicago Manual of Style says, "A dash or a pair of dashes is used to denote a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure." Professor Charles Darling suggests thinking of dashes as "super commas." There are four kinds of dashes: em, en, two-em, and three-em. EM DASH Generally, if you see the word "dash," the writer means em dash. Most word processing programs give us access to em dashes (the width of a capital "m"). If you don't have software that has this special character, type two hyphens with no spaces between the words on either side and the dashes, or do one of the following: Keyboard stroke: If you use Windows, hold down the Alt key and type 0151 on the keypad. To make this autocorrect in Word for Windows: Go to Menu bar / Tools / click AutoCorrect. In the "Replace" box, type two hyphens. In the "With" box, press Alt + 0151 to create an em-dash, and then click Add. Close. If you use a Mac and Word, try typing two hyphens. Word should automatically convert them into an em-dash. If not, try this: Go to Menu bar / Tools / click AutoCorrect. In the "Replace" box, type two hyphens. In the "With" box, press OPTION+SHIFT+- (hyphen) to create an em-dash, and then click Add. Close. Regardless of whether you use an "em" dash or two hyphens, don't leave any space before or after the dash. EN DASH Use an "en" dash to connect numbers in a range. It means "up to and including" when used like this: "During the years 1998-1999," and "...people aged 55-63." If you don't have access to an "en" dash, use a hyphen. If you use Windows, hold down the Alt key and type 0150 on the keypad. TWO-EM DASH Used to indicate that letters are missing from a word. If you don't have access to this dash, type four consecutive hyphens with no spaces between. If letters are missing from within a word, leave no space before or after the two-em dash. If the letters are missing at the end of a word, leave no space before it, but leave one space after, unless punctuation is required. Examples: * Mrs. Birming---- chose to remain anonymous. * The diagnosis was made by Dr. Boy----. Note: You can type a two-em dash by using the keystrokes one after the other with no space between them. THREE-EM DASH Used to indicate that an entire word has been left out or needs to be provided. If you don't have the character for the three-em dash, type six consecutive hyphens. You can type a three-em dash by using the keystrokes three times with no space between them. Because this dash represents a complete word, leave a space before and after unless punctuation is needed. Three em-dashes are generally also used in bibliographies to represent an author's name in subsequent entries, once the author's full name has been given. NOTE: These rules aren't written on stone. Many documents you'll type do not require using the various dashes. But when you're typing manuscripts, print newsletters, special reports, or anything that requires good typography, use them as described above. If nothing else sticks, make sure you always use two hyphens when you can't create an em dash. You'll find more information on dashes at: References Used: * The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition ISBN 0-226-10389-7 * The Copyeditor's Handbook, Amy Einsohn ISBN 0-520-21835-3 * The Gregg Reference Manual, Ninth Edition ISBN 0-02-804046-5
Archives for March 2010
Perhaps you've heard of most of the disabilities listed below, and perhaps one or more of them have touched your life. A couple of years ago I became webmaster for 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit that trains service dogs for people with disabilities. Mostly children. One of my jobs is to take the parents' fundraising requests and take them, and the pictures they send, and upload them to a special page. I decided to list, at the bottom of the page, all of the disabilities and diseases that came with these special people. The list is huge. Tonight, I decided I would take the existing list and post it so you could see what so many families face these days, and how important it is to consider how each of us can, in any way possible, be of support to these special needs: ADD. ADHD. Adrenoleukodystrophy. Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC. Angelman Syndrome. Apraxia. Arthrogryposis. Aspergers Disorder. Asthma. Ataxia. Autism. Bilateral Club Feet. Bipolar Disorder. Bone Disorder. Brain damage from birth. Cardiomyopathy. Cerebral Palsy. Chiari I malformation. Chromosome 18 q- Syndrome. Communication Disorder. Cortical Dysplasia. Crouch Gait. Developmental Delays. Dravet Syndrome. Encephalitis. Epilepsy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Fine Motor Delays. Fragile X. Gastroschsis. Global Developmental Delay. Hydrocephalus. Hypotonia. Legal blindness. Idiopathic Infantile Spasms. Impulse Control Disorder. Intractable Epilepsy. Ischemic stroke. Laryngomalacia. Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Mental Retardation. Metachromatic Leukodystrophy. Microcephaly. Mitochondrial disorder. Mood Disorder. Multiple Birth Defects Syndrome. Myoclonic Astatic Epilepsy. Non-Progressive Encephalopathy. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Ocular Motor Apraxia. Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Osteoporosis. Parkinson's. Patent Ductess Arteriosis. PDD-NOS. Pertussis. Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Pituitary Brain Tumor. Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. Polymicrogyria. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Profound ADHD. Proteus Spinal Meningitis. Pschomotor Retardation Epilepsy. Refractory Epilepsy. Respiratory Distress Disorder. Restless Leg Syndrome. Retts Syndrome. Myofacial Pain Syndrome. Scoliosis. Seizure Disorder. Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Sensory Processing Disorder. Severe Anxiety Disorder. Severe Intractable Seizure Disorder. Severe Motility Disorder. Severe Sensory Integration Disorder. Shaken Baby Syndrome. Speech Apraxia. Smith-Magenis Syndrome. Spina Bifida. Temperature Instability. Torticollis. Traumatic Brain Injury. Trisomy P Syndrome Tuberous Sclerosis. Ventricular Septal Defect. Vesticoureteral Reflux.
Have you ever applied for a Web site award, and come across the term White Space? Some people think it's a NASA program, an degenerative eye condition, or the result of taking a hallucinogen. According to design experts like Grant Crowell, white space is the open space between design elements, and an important layout technique. Text is a design element. I like to think of placing text the same way Ritz-Carlton chefs present fine food on exquisite tableware. If we offer lots of good text on our sites, but without order and organization, no one may understand what we have to say. When you're working with text in a table, use at least six pixels of cellpadding to set it apart from the margins, visible or not. The exception would be if you're just using one table data cell. Avoid big chunks of text. Break up your paragraphs into readable elements, keeping in mind that people tend to skim. Large paragraphs are not just confusing, they're sending a subtle signal that the reader isn't important. Verdana and Georgia have a bit more space between letters than Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc. If you can afford to use either of these two, do so. They reinforce the idea of more white space. Smallbusiness.com uses Verdana for its body text. If you need to squeeze your words together a bit more, go with Arial or Times New Roman, making sure to break up the text with lists, blockspacing, etc. Just for fun, when you're reading magazines and newspapers and watching TV, look for white space in advertising. Once you catch on to how type can be used in design, you'll be hooked! Further reading: Internet Brothers: Desktop Publishing Polished Presentations by Judy Vorfeld Using white space in Web page design and Layout by Grant Crowell