on those pesky dashes as punctuation marks

Dash Incredibles1 500 copy

USE OF THE DASH FOR PUNCTUATION is a lost art in con­tem­po­rary Amer­ican Eng­lish (AmE) and British Eng­lish (BrE) for many writers and ap­par­ently many type­set­ters. It’s a shame, as a well-placed dash or ten can ease the flow of reading and there­fore lead to in­creased un­der­standing and plea­sure. Here I ad­dress the way that I—who use the dash with a near promis­cuous dis­re­gard for the consequences—use both the en-dash and the em-dash in my work. READ MORE

where does the comma go with quotation marks?

QuotationMarks clip art 1600

WHERE DOES THE COMMA GO when it’s within a pair of quo­ta­tion mark? Some­times it’s within the quo­ta­tion marks, some­times it’s out­side those same quote marks! Same with pe­riods! And where do colons and semi-colons go? And en-dashes and em-dashes? And what about quotes within quotes? As the old man in Moon­struck says at the end of the movie, “I’m a-confused.” READ MORE

what’s a “buck lunch”? (or, whats a buck lunch)

BuckLunch header

I TOOK BERNI to her morning coffee at a nearby Star­bucks she wakes up five days a week with that place’s caf­feine and a book be­fore going to work. On the way back home, I drove past a local chain restau­rant. Their sign ad­ver­tised the fol­lowing:


BuckLunch

Now, if Eng­lish is your na­tive lan­guage, your brain reg­is­ters ex­actly what the sign-maker in­tended: that they are of­fering a lunch spe­cial for five dol­lars. READ MORE