- Slides: 8
The dash • In plain English… – A dash is used to set off information in a sentence with a dramatic flair. It may set off parenthetical information or a list.
Food for thought • “The dash has been frowned on by grammarians – if you are writing for a grammarian, don’t use it – but I find it is a wonderful device to use to interrupt your line or comment on what you have just written, to give information the reader needs at the moment, to qualify or emphasize. ” – Donald Murray, The Craft of Revision
• Perfect tool to show interruption in speech. • Used to dramatically set off extra information or a list in a sentence – dramatically. • The dash calls attention to what follows it, telling our eyes to rush to the words after it. • The word dash has its roots in the verb dash. The mark literally hurls us toward what follows.
Rule of thumb! • Use the dash sparingly and use it dramatically.
Student error • Mom told me to stop, I wouldn’t ever, but she didn’t have to know that.
Mentor Text • DARKNESS – COLD – CHURNING WATER – roaring, like a thousand lions – spinning around – bashing into rocks – arms wrapped around my face to protect it – tucking up my legs to make myself smaller, less on target. Wash up against a clump of roots – grab hold – the wet roots feel like dead fingers clutching at me – a space between the water and the roof of the tunnel – I draw quick gasps of breath – current takes hold again – trying to fight it – roots break off in my hands – swept away. (p. 5) -- Darren Shan, Cirque Du Freak #6 The Vampire Prince.
Mentor Text • Nothing ever seems interesting when it belongs to you – only when it doesn’t. (p. 7) - Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting
Using the following writing prompt, write a quick story, incorporating the punctuation marks we have been discussing. • Your kids have spent years asking you to get them a dog. You finally break down and get one, only to discover that this dog talks—but only to you. More interestingly, the dog loves to gossip about your kids and their lives. Write a scene where your dog rats out one of your kids for doing something they shouldn’t.