i'll name this blog later

i'll probably just dump random musings here

em dashes and grammar

December 30, 2021 — ~nd

The em dash—versatile, emphatic, elongated. Why use commas, parenthesis, or colons when an em dash will do?

It's not an en dash and it's certainly not a hyphen.

I can't name my favorite color but I can name my favorite punctuation mark. That's a little odd, huh?

In HTML it's either — or —. On Mac, you'll have to use the shortcut Option+Shift+Minus (-) because Apple doesn't recognize the supremacy of em dashes. Windows is even worse as you'll have to use the shortcut Alt+0151, and if you don't have a num pad you'll probably have to set a custom shortcut.

Also, today I found out that punctuation is not part of grammar—and therefore potentially not part of language at all. In linguistics, punctuation—as well as capitalization—is considered to be solely in the realm of writing. Writing is considered merely the representation of language. Grammar is an aspect of language, which is considered spoken language and natural—not technological—in origin.

I'm not sure where that leaves us, but I've certainly used a lot of em dashes in this post.

tags: english, linguistics