Two More Punctuation Friends

Good to know some readers still care about accuracy in their use of punctuation. Thanks for your positive comments. Here are two more little friends  to add to your Workplace Writing Tool Kit:

The Dash

1.  Don’t use a dash as a substitute for a comma. It indicates a sudden break in thought. Example:

“We thought the problem was solved – but another customer called with the same complaint.”

2.  Use a dash to indicate an unfinished dialog. Example:

“As he accepted the award, he said, “I am very thrilled with this honor. It is an important day – It’s such a surprise. -” He was overcome with emotion and couldn’t continue.”

3.  Use a dash to augment or explain a statement. Example:

“The candidate had everything he wanted – experience, skills and personality.”

4.  Use a dash to emphasize a parenthetical thought. Example:

“After Bill quit, no internal candidate – no matter how hard they looked – could fill his shoes.”

5.  Use a dash to place emphasis on appositives. Example:

“Compare our price – $595 – with the competition.”   “Their quality scores – Ann, 99.7%, and Phil, 98.9% – were the highest in the division.”

The Hyphen

1.  Hyphenate prefixes. Examples: “ …ex-employee …”, “… self-employed …”

2.  Hyphenate compound words. Examples: “…mock-up…”, “…bother-in-law…”, “…nine-or-10 year veterans…”

3.  Use hyphenation for joining words as adjectives. Examples:

“…hand-picked successor…”, “…shoe-string budget…”, “…attention-getting visual…”

4.  Hyphenate numbers. Examples:  “…twenty-three…”, “…sixty-five…”, “…two-thirds…”

5.  Avoid repetition by using hyphenation. Examples: “…short-, medium- and long-range plans…” “…first-, business- or coach-class ticket…”

Look for more next month … and happy punctuating!