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Video:Quick Tip: How to Use a Dash

with Heather Kamins

Dashes are useful pieces of punctuation and can work to add emphasis to writing. Get a brief overview of how dashes function in grammar in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Quick Tip: How to Use a Dash

Hi, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about how to use a dash.

How to Use a Dash Punctuation Mark

You can use dashes in the same way that you use parentheses, to set off an aside within a sentence. For example: the paint we chose--a beautiful shade of blue--arrived on Tuesday.

You can also use a dash to introduce a list, a restatement, or a shift to add emphasis. For example: I was glad to be home--until I saw the letter waiting there for me. In those cases, dashes are often used in places of dashes or colons, and they do add a greater sense of emphasis. But it's important not to overuse them, or your writing can become choppy.

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