The sense of relief is palpable around here.
I’d been seeing queries (QueryShark) and comments from writers that included this mysterious punctuation: –. Well I studied English at school (in England) and had never ever been taught to write this — ever. I’ve been spending the best part of a month worrying that I had missed an important say at school. Was it when I had the chicken pox? When I had my appendix out? Was it the day I sneaked out to meet a boy from the next door school?
Not so much. After meticulous research (OK, I just googled ‘UK punctuation’) I found out that there is no such thing as an em dash in the English, English language. Phew. We just use a straight dash and assume that people can tell the difference between a hyphenated word and a clause in a sentence.
Now when I write the em dash, it feels squinky. But I guess I’ll have to embrace it if I ever want to be published in the US. And I’m a REALLY dashy person too; I’ve got dashes all over the place in nearly everything I’ve ever written. Maybe I need to admit I need help on that one and start a 12 step program.