Dash it!

by Aishah Macgill

As a book formatter and book designer, one of the things that often crops up when I am getting a raw manuscript ready for publication, is tidying up all the itty-bitty, little things, like extra spacing, inconsistent paragraphs, different headings. It can be a real hotch-potch. Often these inconsistencies are idiosyncratic to the author.

Hopefully, by the time I get to this step, a book has been edited and proof read. However, often I am still confronted with a job that should be small, but often takes time to clean up – that is what dash to use throughout the book?

There are two main options here. Sometimes an author will use all of them at random. They will use one style, then another in all the wrong places. To get the correct meaning and to make the book uniform throughout, often it has to be done manually, dash by dash!

There is the question of whether to use the en-dash or the em-dash? For words that are conjoined, you would simply use the dash on the keyboard.

So when you are writing a book, might I suggest it would be a good idea to decide which dash to use at the outset so you have a uniform look throughout your book, and possibly save alot of time later on or risk inconsistencies, which can be very annoying for the reader!


What is your preferred dash?

Think about your intention.




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