How To | Adventures in Grammar

The Long Dash

“Em-dashes play all types of roles—extender, interrupter, lister—but what they have in common is an inherent desire to do more, to say a little extra, to create a kind of double time.”

Sometimes I forget how to use commas. I’m not guilty of run-ons or splices. I never fuse. Listing, I even prefer the optional Oxford. Yet show me an introductory element or a blankety-blank clause and I freeze up. I blame the paucity of public school grammar lessons—and then I use a dash.

Home Aloneem dashesemen

gerundos—mantequilla escritorio la falda El guióncon el guión


Where the Sidewalk Ends

Five Days in Oak Forest

Five Days in Oak Forest

FriendsHow many sets of parenthesis are too many?

I received mail most days: a catalog; an autographed photo of an Illinois politician; or a note, like this one, from my great-aunt.


Vox eA VoidVoxThe Fermata

fermareThe Fermata.

commashsemi-colash colash

The Mezzaninegradus,