Get Your Dashes Right
- On November 17, 2020
I received an email from Citibank the other day that started like this: We’re working as quickly as possible to reopen the branches that remain closed – you can find the latest information about the branch nearest you at Citibank.com/locations.
The dash is incorrect. It should be a period or a semicolon.
Dashes do a few things, but what they don’t do is connect two full thoughts that flow logically one from the other. When you use a single one—they also come in pairs like this—you’re signaling to your reader that you’re about to say something surprising or something you want to emphasize. We’re working as quickly as possible to reopen the branches that remain closed—please be patient would be correct.
You use a pair of dashes to convey extra information that you want to stand out. This recent news headline does just that: Lucky Pfizer CEO Bourla cashes out $5.6M worth of stock—perfectly legally—as COVID vaccine data lifts market.
For more tips on the topic, read, When to Dash: The Difference Between Commas, Parentheses, and Dashes in Punctuating Parenthetical—i.e., Extra—Information.