Featuring cherita!

May 9, 2009

Moderation In All Things

I want to share this opinion piece from the British magazine, Standpoint, website. Its premise is that the em-dash has all but replaced the semicolon. I occasionally use a semicolon, but I think many children's writers stay away from it because children have a limited understanding of what a semicolon implies. Besides, if we are using semicolons, we are probably writing sentences that are simply too long for our audience. Excessive use of em-dashes is something I will have to be more aware of in the future.

Writers of haiku in English often employ em-dashes and ellipses, and less frequently colons and semicolons to indicate a pause. This practice is a result of English not having an equivalent of the kireji or "cutting word." (See the Haiku Society of America's note on its haiku definition here.) I think the use of em-dashes in haiku can also be overdone, I know I've found myself using them a little too often.

Image by Rocketeer

The lesson here is--everything in moderation--including the use of em-dashes!

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