Prufrock's Page

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quite Dashing

In Emdashes, contributor Michael Lewis sums up opinions on a burning issue: should one use spaces before and after em dashes or not?

AP style is to “put a space on both sides of a dash in all uses except the start of a paragraph [their version of a bulleted list] and sports agate summaries.” See “Punctuation” chapter.

Chicago style is not as explicit, but all the examples in the 15th ed. do not contain preceding or following spaces (e.g.: “It was a revival of the most potent image in modern democracy—the revolutionary idea.”). See sec. 6.87ff.

Strunk & White are not explicit either, but also do not include spaces (e.g.: “The rear axle began to make a noise—a grinding, chattering, teeth-gritting rasp.”). See sec. I.8.

Bringhurst recommends using en dashes set off with spaces: “Used as a phrase marker – thus – the en dash is set with a normal word space either side.” See sec. 5.2ff.

One has unknowingly followed AP and Bringhurst -- thanks, Michael! -- and will continue to do so.


Post a Comment

<< Home