How to Use Em Dashes


Apostrophes     Brackets     Colons     Commas     Ellipses     Em Dashes     En Dashes     Exclamation Marks     Hyphens     Parentheses     Periods     Question Marks     Quotation Marks     Semicolons

Em dashes are wonderful for creating sentence variety and complexity and for clarifying mid-sentence important thoughts. Em dashes allow you interject commentary in the middle of a sentence in a way that gives emphasis (similar to parentheses, but with added emphasis instead of as an aside.) Em dashes are also the punctuation mark that allow you stop mid-sentence and redirect your thoughts, as we often do in natural conversations. This makes em dashes critical for writing in a style that is informal and conversational.

Em Dash difficulty ranking: 6/14 (just a little difficult to master)
Em dashes are used very similarly to parentheses, so if you feel like you understand how parentheses work, you can master the em dash quickly. But many people have not been properly trained on the use of the em dash and simply never try to incorporate them into their writing. Use em dashes to make your writing more sophisticated, but be sure not to accidentally use a hyphen or en dash in their place! (that’s the most common misuse, by the way.)