Top Tip of the Week

Dastardly Dashes!

Last week, it was the turn of the exclamation mark and this week it’s the turn of the dash (-). A dash is often used as a short interruption in text and like exclamation marks, a few are fine but overloading your script with them makes it harder on the eyes to read, interrupts the flow of the writing and takes away from the meaning. Here’s an extract from a story to demonstrate:

 

They were just coming into bloom on the day you were born – I was standing outside Mrs Farmer’s house at the time – it had been such a miserable morning – fog – rain – sleet – even some snow – everything – apart from sunshine. But Mrs Farmer’s daffodils made everything sunny – and then my waters broke – I forgot all about daffodils after that.

On a bright spring day – we would often take a trip to the park – we’d pass the sea of yellow in Mrs Farmer’s garden along the way.

‘Daffs, daffs,’ you would shout – your chubby arms pointing – and a huge grin on your face.

 

Now read the text without dashes and see how much easier it is to read, how it flows smoothly and the meaning is clear:

 

They were just coming into bloom on the day you were born. I was standing outside Mrs Farmer’s house at the time. It had been such a miserable morning with fog, rain, sleet, even some snow, everything apart from sunshine. But Mrs Farmer’s daffodils made everything sunny. And then my waters broke. I forgot all about daffodils after that.

On a bright spring day, we would often take a trip to the park. We’d pass the sea of yellow in Mrs Farmer’s garden along the way.

‘Daffs, daffs,’ you would shout, your chubby arms pointing and a huge grin on your face.

 

This is only a very short extract so large passages of text full of hyphens further distort and distract.

 

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