1. miscauthor
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    miscauthor New Member

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    Hi all, RE: dashes, ellipsis

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by miscauthor, Jul 21, 2011.

    Hi all,

    I am new to this forum and to creative writing as well. Firstly, as I am new, please let me know if I do anything wrong so I won't repeat the mistake!

    Well, I just wanted to post a few questions regarding dashes and ellipsis.

    Are the following uses correct?

    "Why would I do-?"

    (is the question mark required to be put there? Are there spaces between the dash and the word 'do', are there spaces between the dash and the question mark?)

    "That's stupi-"

    (This dash shows interruption. Is there a space between the word and the dash? Is there a space between the dash and the punctuation marks?)

    "That-that hurts!"
    "That-I told him-is stupid!"


    (Are there spaces between the dash and the words around it?)

    "...I don't know"

    (Are there spaces between the ellipsis and the punctuation marks and the word 'I'?)

    "I don't think so..."


    (Are there three dots required here? Or four? Or three dots and a question mark or exclamation mark or comma depending on the sentence?)

    Sorry about all the questions and looking forward to meeting all of you online!

    Miscauthor
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i could answer your questions, but it's really best to study and learn the rules on your own, from authoritative sources, than to rely on what are bound to be conflicting opinions of others... go to the linked sites below and study the usage rules for ellipses and em dashes:

    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/e.html
    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/d.html

    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01/

    if those don't give you all the info you need, try any of these:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?rls=ig#hl=en&rls=ig&site=webhp&sa=X&ei=vRIoTtHRDub40gH7ybzzCg&ved=0CBwQvwUoAQ&q=punctuation+guide&spell=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=dffd0c150f157a6e&biw=607&bih=410
     
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  3. miscauthor
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    miscauthor New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I have read a book on dialogue and also surfed the net for a while trying to learn the rules, so I believe I already have a rough idea on what the answers to my questions are. I'm sure those links will provide further clarification which is essentially what I was seeking (would hate to think that you thought I just came on here hoping somebody would solve all my problems for me!).

    miscauthor
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not to worry... i just wanted to let you know that before you go to others, it's best to do all you can on your own, as that's what serious/seasoned writers do...

    hugs, m
     
  5. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    Generally speaking, I think ellipses are for pauses. Em dashes are used for interruptions or asides.

    As mammamaia said, you should learn the rules. But I don't know how important the spaces are around ellipses. Every book I've read prints them as dot-space-dot-space-dot, so your text above will look like ""I don't think so . . . I don't know" regardless of what comes before or after. I believe agents want them this way, too, but double-check that because I might be wrong. I'll defer to someone who knows more on the subject of what agents and editors want.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's the generally preferred way to do ellipses, as far as i know...
     

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