This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms.
This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Additionally, per the publisher's request, their name has been removed in some passages. More information is available on this project's attribution page.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. To download a .zip file containing this book to use offline, simply click here.
Dashes and parentheses are both used to give more importance to a word or group of words. The information enclosed by dashes and parentheses often supports the information directly before or after it.
Dashes separate emphasis-adding text from the rest of the words in a sentence. You can use one long dash to set apart text at the end of a sentence. You can use dashes before and after the text to set it apart in the middle of a sentence. Here are some uses for dashes:
Creating a sudden change in tone, thought, or ideas
Example: We had predicted that the storm would come soon—but not this soon!
Suggesting hesitation in dialogue
Example: The old lady said to the man working the register, “I’ve got an extra nickel for the little girl’s candy—that is, if she’ll take it.”
Providing a summary, an explanation, or an example
Example: The book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is narrated by Scout Finch—a character who has much in common with the tomboy childhood of the author, Harper Lee.
Parentheses allow you to interrupt the flow of your text to give additional information. They can be used in the middle of a sentence or at the end. Some uses of parentheses include the following:
Enclosing numbers in an in-text list.
Example: My mother asked me to stop on the way to visit and pick a few things up at the store: (1) a half gallon of milk, (2) a dozen eggs, and (3) a loaf of bread.
Setting apart citation components in in-text references and in reference lists.
Example: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee, p. 34).
Separating nonessential but helpful information.
Example: My dog (some sort of a terrier-spaniel mix) has a unique personality.
Specific rules guide using punctuation with parentheses. End punctuation can be placed inside parentheses if the content of the parentheses is a complete sentence. If the content inside the parentheses is part of a larger sentence, the end punctuation should go outside the parentheses. If a comma is needed, it should always be placed outside the closing parenthesis. A comma should not be used immediately before an opening parenthesis, except in the case of in-text lists (e.g., “We need to (1) go to the bank, (2) buy some cereal at the store, (3) pick up the tickets, and (4) get to the party by 7:00 p.m.”