Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Watch pauses - writing tip

Watch pauses. In general there are three kinds of pauses. You can hyphenate within a word to indicate the speaker is using an accent, when one word modifies the other, or for emphasis. A hyphen is a very short pause and can also be used to indicate the speaker is talking-very-fast or running-his-words-together, if you hyphenate words that would otherwise have a space between them. An em dash (—) is named for the old typesetter's measure, because it is one em long. It is a short pause, or indicates an interruption or a change of thought. If you don't have a font with an em dash, you can indicate it in a manuscript by typing two hyphens (--) side by side with no spaces at the end. The third pause indicator is the ellipses (. . .) typed as three dots with spaces between, but not at the ends, and it indicates a longer pause than an em dash. Quite a long pause, long enough to count to three, though not as long as, "five minutes later." Also when you use ellipses to indicate a pause and they come at the end of a sentence or in a place where other punctuation might be appropriate, the three ellipses dots should be followed by the appropriate punctuation, a period, comma, or even a question mark.

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