I am going a little nuts here – I mean more than usual. We are editing the interviews of successful bloggers, putting up the finishing touches on our ebook, The Build a Better Blog System.
The problem is that because of the informal nature of writing on a blog, or for online ezines, people now write like they speak – you know what I mean? Instead of commas or semi-colons, everyone uses dashes to interject phrases – just like the way we talk.
But everyone uses them differently! Forget the Chicago Manual of Style! So as we were editing the interviews for the book, we are seeing three common ways of using dashes.
1. People use a double hyphen–like this. Sometimes with a space on both sides — like this, sometimes with no spaces on either side.
2. People use a hyphen instead of a dash. This is most likely because the dash is not on the keyboard. You have to find it under symbols and who wants to take time to do that?
3. People use an en dash instead of the em dash. An en dash is the shorter version of the em dash. With an en dash there is a space on both sides – with an em dash, there are no spaces-you just put it in.
Apparently there are no dashes in the Typepad wysiwyg editor, so I’m using a simple hypen to illustrate this – and not too well, I might add.
Am I the only one who cares about this? If we are not going to follow the rules of academia as outlined in the manuals, are we inventing new usages because of the lack of a dash on the keyboard?
I feel like the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves (Lynn Truss)…my inner stickler is on the loose.
Let’s all get together and decide: if we use a hyphen instead of a dash, let’s make it just one with spaces on both sides – like this, okay?
Unless you all write in to tell me you’d prefer something else, I’ll assume you agree with me…