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WRA 370 Comparative Research Paper 3 10/22/13 The Use of Em Dashes This semester I became aware of the em dash.

OI saw it occasionally, I would see the dash in textbooks and articles, but didnt know much about it. I didnt even know it had the name em dash.. I had beenwas under the impression all dashes were the same. After encountering em dashes again in two of my classes this semester, I decided it was time for me to do my own research to figure how to properly use the em dash. I began researching the em dash in Tthe Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) and the Associated Press Stylebook (AP Stylebook). The explanation in the CMS was elaborate and included several examples further explaining the uses of the em dash. The AP Stylebook was much more briefbriefer in its explanation and anyone consulting it for clarification on the em dash would most likely be left confused. I gained further understandingThough I understood these rules, but I knew that those unfamiliar with these resources might still have an unclear interpretation. In these instances, conducting a Google search might be more beneficial to someone seeking help with the em dash. When I consulted Google, I found that The Free Dictionary thefreedictionary.com hads a useful definition of the em dash. It stated the purpose of the em dash and the circumstances it is often used in. GrammarBbook.com suggested to use the em dash sparingly in formal writing, while in informal writing it may replace commas, semicolons, colons, and parentheses to indicate addedfor additional emphasis, or to indicate an interruption or or an abrupt change of thought (Straus). But what is the difference between formal and informal writing?
Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Comment [MU1]: This might not be needed, but since you said earlier that you had seen them before, maybe adding again would reinforce the notion that you have seen the em dash before Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic

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Personally, I consider textbooks, novels, business letters, essays, and newspapers to be formal writing because of their scholarly nature and the editing processes they often endure. On the contrary, I would identify informal writing as text messages, emails, informal letters and blogs. In these types of writing, does the em dash effect context and formality? Obviously, if the em dash is used incorrectly it can diminish the credibility of any formal writing. Smashingmagazine.com argues that the em dash can also seen asbe less visually appealing in formal published works. David Kadavy of Ssmashmagazine.com ignores the punctuation rules of CMS and follows typography principles instead. Kadavy states, An en dash surrounded by spaces achieves the same effect as an em dash with no spaces, but typographically it is less disruptive. (Kadavy). However, in the eyes of an editor, achieving perfection, prioritizing typography above punctuation rules may not be seen as acceptableed in formal writing. In my opinion, Kadavys arguments are true forin informal writing. In informal works, writers are less focused on grammatical rules and are more concentrated on pleasing the reader. In regards to the en dash/em dash Kadavy argument,In the circumstances of informal writing it is logical, in informal writing, to be visually appealing to the reader, regarding the en dash/em dash Kadavy argument. GrammarBbook.com suggested using em dashes sparingly in formal writing. I would also argue that they should be used sparingly in informal writing. In my opinion, the em dash is punctuation that requires a bold context in writing;, a break in thought that is so dramatic it requires a rare form of punctuation. If the em dash is overused, it can become s distracting. Once I was aware of the purpose of em dashes, I imagined athe long break of
Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Comment [HC2]: Transitional sentences dont always have to be questions. You could add some variety by simply introducing the next paragraph with an ending statement rather than question, such as: In regards to the formality of the text, the em dash can alter the tone and context of the writing. Or something like that. Formatted: Font: Italic Comment [HC3]: Smash or Smashing ? In previous reference, used Smashing. Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic

thoughtpause when I read them. Slate.com has an excellent example of an article, (The Case Please Hear Me Out Against the Em Dash , which is) written entirely in em dashes. Ill admit I found it unbearable to read the plethora of em dashesI could barely finish the article. The author of the Sslate.com article, Noreen Malone, observed that the em dash is becoming more widely used in blogs, novels, and newspapers. Malones article demonstrates the em dashs potential distraction. Malone and believes that the excessive use of dots, commas, and dashes is signaling distress in Morse code (Malone). If too many em dashes are used, the text might seemseems longerengthier. Every sentence with an em dash may appear seems to be dragged out and prolonged. In some circumstances, this is the exact purpose of the literary piece and it becomes effective. In other cases, it can make a perfect piece of literature seem exhausting. Transitioning back to Kadavys arguments of visual appeal, if too many em dashes are used it becomes difficult to read and the readers eyes begin to hurt. With the aims of pleasing readers, the excessive use of em dashes can nearly ruin the written work. (Trust me, try reading Malones article without wanting to rest your eyes)..) The main problem with em dashes is the lack of knowledge. Amidst the confusion of when and how to use them, many writers dont know the limitationss of using themutilizing them. Despite GgrammarBbook.com justifying the excessive em dash use in informal writing, Ive observed that there is a limit. Although the em dash is an essential punctuation mark that adds drama and demonstrates a break in thought, there can only be so much of the elementit should never be overused. Informal or formal, email or essay, the

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Comment [HC4]: I think instead of referring to your online sources as -.com, because they are actual magazines, you could just say according to Slate Magazine and have that in italics. That goes for the rest of your sources. Unless the -.com part is literally a part of the name of the source, like it says it in the heading of the website (such as with Grammarbook.com), then thats okay, but otherwise, it isnt necessary. Formatted: Font: Italic Formatted: Font: Italic Comment [HC5]: Do you mean period? Or a colon? Semi-colon? Perhaps use a word other than dots? Comment [HC6]: Since you already stated the source in the text, it isnt necessary to site it again at the end of the sentence.

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em dash can add to the purpose of the work. However, make sure to spare the eyes of reader and be cautious of the dangerous temptation of excessive em dash use.