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Stone and Silt
by Harvey Chute

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Kindle Edition published 2013-08-14
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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: How do you feel about dashes?  (Read 501 times)  

Offline StephenBrennan

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How do you feel about dashes?
« on: May 19, 2017, 07:56:56 AM »
Sometimes wonder if these things break the flow of the sentence. Like:

"A red glow emanated from the sockets of his face, as he planted a foot on solid earth and reached his rag-covered arm for me."

What do you think?

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 08:00:04 AM »
Sometimes wonder if these things break the flow of the sentence. Like:

"A red glow emanated from the sockets of his face, as he planted a foot on solid earth and reached his rag-covered arm for me."

What do you think?
Since I taught English for 36 years, I have to point out that you're using a hyphen there, not a dash. Forgive me--I couldn't help myself! (That was a dash.)

With regard to your question, no, I don't think it breaks the flow at all.


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Offline StephenBrennan

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 08:01:18 AM »
Since I taught English for 36 years, I have to point out that you're using a hyphen there, not a dash. Forgive me--I couldn't help myself! (That was a dash.)

With regard to your question, no, I don't think it breaks the flow at all.

Lol, I stand corrected.

Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 08:04:53 AM »
Hyphens should be used for clarity, which you've done here.

Without it, I'd get confused on the first read because...

Quote
as he planted a foot on solid earth and reached his rag covered arm for me.

I'd subconsciously think he's reached his rag, and that covered is in another clause. Like...

Quote
as he planted a foot on solid earth and reached his rag, covered covered in grime

But with the hyphen you remove the slight ambiguity, so I won't be taken out of the sentence :)

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Offline Dan C. Rinnert

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 08:06:33 AM »
Seeing as I was wondering why you were referring to a comma as a dash and didn't even notice the hyphenated word on the first (second or third) reading, my guess is that, no, the hyphen doesn't break the sentence flow.

Offline Dan C. Rinnert

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 08:07:45 AM »
Seeing as I was wondering why you were referring to a comma as a dash and didn't even notice the hyphenated word on the first (second or third) reading, my guess is that, no, the hyphen doesn't break the sentence flow.

In my defense, I was looking for a dash, not a hyphen.  So I'm not completely stupid.  ;)

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 08:17:21 AM »
I think they don't.
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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 08:40:26 AM »
I wish they were easier to use in Google Docs.


Offline Lummox JR

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 08:49:14 AM »
Hyphens never break the flow of a sentence. They're there to keep the flow intact.

Dashes do break the flow, but intentionally.
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Offline IncorporealGhost

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 02:40:31 PM »
Happy, fun lesson time because I love dashes!

This is an em dash.
This is an en dash.
- This is a hyphen.

If you are using Windows and have a number pad on your keyboard, you can use something called an alt code. Hold down the alt key and then type 0151. This will give you an em dash of your very own. For Mac users, I believe you press shift, option, and then - (but it's been a few years since I used a Mac, sorry!)

Offline J. Tanner

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 05:23:06 PM »
Hyphen is spot on. That comma needs to die tho...  :D
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Offline loraininflorida

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 05:42:58 PM »
Pet peeve of mine: when a sentence ends in an em dash (to indicate the speaker has been interrupted) and there isn't enough room on the line, a reading device will treat [em dash]" as a word and put it all by its lonesome on the next line. Looks awful! l wish Word would create an em dash with a sticky end. Until then, I use the horizontal bar for an em dash because it looks pretty similar and it has a sticky end --it won't allow a reading device to break the [em dash]" away from its preceding word, it sends the preceding word and the [em dash]" together to the next line.

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Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 05:50:18 PM »
Sometimes wonder if these things break the flow of the sentence. Like:

"A red glow emanated from the sockets of his face, as he planted a foot on solid earth and reached his rag-covered arm for me."

What do you think?

Like Bill said, it's a hyphen, but its usage is correct.  When you have two or more words that work together as a single adjective, then you connect those words with hyphens.
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Offline KennySkylin

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 06:00:15 PM »
No, it does not break the flow for me at all. A compound modifier like that should have the hyphen there to enhance the flow and reduce confusion.

Offline Carol M

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 06:42:49 PM »
This is an example of a good and appropriate use of the hyphen.

Dashes create a longer pause in a sentence than a comma does.

Offline J. Tanner

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 07:37:24 PM »
Pet peeve of mine: when a sentence ends in an em dash (to indicate the speaker has been interrupted) and there isn't enough room on the line, a reading device will treat [em dash]" as a word and put it all by its lonesome on the next line. Looks awful! l wish Word would create an em dash with a sticky end. Until then, I use the horizontal bar for an em dash because it looks pretty similar and it has a sticky end --it won't allow a reading device to break the [em dash]" away from its preceding word, it sends the preceding word and the [em dash]" together to the next line.

Kindle has some really bad typography defaults. If you're one of those people who puts spaces around your em dashes you might try an < NBSP > but for those who try to set type like a trade publisher you get the crap results with this. I spent a a couple hours one day trying everything I could find online or think of to solve it and gave up.
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Offline Flay Otters

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2017, 08:31:25 PM »
Pet peeve of mine: when a sentence ends in an em dash (to indicate the speaker has been interrupted) and there isn't enough room on the line, a reading device will treat [em dash]" as a word and put it all by its lonesome on the next line. Looks awful! l wish Word would create an em dash with a sticky end. Until then, I use the horizontal bar for an em dash because it looks pretty similar and it has a sticky end --it won't allow a reading device to break the [em dash]" away from its preceding word, it sends the preceding word and the [em dash]" together to the next line.

I use an ellipsis...

Offline loraininflorida

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2017, 08:56:33 PM »
An ellipsis won't usually work for me because it signals an unfinished thought (i.e. a 'trailed off') whereas in my writing I often need to signal that a speaker has been cut off/interrupted.  I use the horizontal bar for it: Insert > Symbol >More Symbols > Character code 2015. It looks pretty much like an em dash but it has sticky ends so a reading device can't unattach it from what I want it attached to. I just don't get why Word doesn't have an em dash with sticky ends!

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Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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Re: How do you feel about dashes?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2017, 12:24:44 AM »
 "How do you feel about dashes?"  Well, to be honest, I'm getting older and prefer a steady pace rather than a dash.


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