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Using an Em Dash vs. Ellipses in Dialogue

I didn’t know much about the Em Dash until recently. This helpful post came just in time. Thanks Amanda!

Amanda Bumgarner

The incorrect use of em dashes and ellipses is not something that matters a whole lot in the grand scheme of writing. There are  more crucial grammatical issues such as direct address commas, apostrophes, and spelling. However, dash/ellipses confusion is a personal pet peeve of mine, and thankfully, the rule is easy enough to remember:

An em dash is the punctuation mark noted by the longer dash. It’s not a hyphen like what you see in this: A two-minute drill. The em dash is longer (—).

Use an em dash (—) for interrupted dialogue, thought, or narrative. Example:

“Why don’t you—” He stopped suddenly and looked behind him.

 The em dash in this case is noting interrupted speech.
Now consider the following:

Use ellipses (…) to denote a small pause, stuttering, or dialogue/narrative that trails off. Here are a few examples:

“And your name is…?” <– In this case…

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About munchkinwrites

Christine: n. a girl perpetually caught between childhood and maturity, reality and fiction. Blogs about writing, music, life and random rainbows.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Using an Em Dash vs. Ellipses in Dialogue

  1. Thanks for sharing this!!

    Posted by AR Neal | August 7, 2013, 6:29 am

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