Blake Snow

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11 years after becoming a paid writer, I finally learned the difference between em dashes and parenthesis

Six months after I started blogging in 2005, I got my first check for writing. I’ve learned a lot since then. But many professional stories, outlets, and years later, I still didn’t know how to distinguish an em dash (the really long hyphen) from parentheses.

That is until this week. Turns out, em dashes are reserved for brief interuptions that are unrelated to the preceding clause, whereas parentheses are primarly reserved for clarification of the preceding clause, writes Sarah Stanley, who strikes again! For example:

  • Johnny asked me—with a straight face, I might add—if he could borrow the car for the weekend.
  • Anyone can edit Wikipedia (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Now before any millennial readers react with “whatevs,” YOLO,” or “TL;DR,” remember kids:

And to all you oxford (aka serial) comma haters—Vampire Weekend very much included—stop saying they’re not important. They reduce confusion. Like this:

credit: the odysee online

credit: reddit