A blog for copyeditors and for students who want to develop proficiency in copyediting
Em-dashes, in my experience, are used in certain situations or circumstances. When I use an em-dash, whether it is correct or not, I imagine that I'm saying something on the side or in parenthesis. But em-dashes are for sentences that won't allow for parenthesis, such as dialog or a formal statement of some kind. I could be very wrong about this, but it is what I've seen in publications and in every day use.
Davis's comment is good.Dashes are first explained in your textbook on pages 24 and 25. More detailed explanations, examples, and an exercise appear in chapter 10. You can also, of course, get more information by visiting the sites listed at the blog.
The fifteenth edition of Chicago Manual discusses em-dashes in sections 6.87 through 6.92.
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