Tag: writing

"This is an em dash."

I’m Obsessed With The Em Dash & You Can’t Change My Mind

My love for em dashes is so powerful that, if converted into energy, it could power this website through the upcoming and inevitable nuclear apocalypse. When I asked my coworkers what they thought of em dashes, staff writer Nathaniel Lee asked, “the pretentious dash?” Our CEO, Scott Richmond, added, “the only reason I don’t use them is that they’re too long. It’s all about the space conservation.” Much like my esteemed coworker, he is wrong.*

Let’s go back to grammar school, so y’all can get grammar SCHOOLED.


"Why the em-dash should be your best friend"
                   Best friend? The em dash is my only friend. | Image Via SlideShare


Parentheses. These are the basic bitches of the grammar world. If they were a statement piece, the statement would be no comment. Parentheses set aside parenthetical phrases—that is, phrases that are unnecessary for the meaning of the sentence. Commas and em dashes accomplish the same task, but em dashes get the points for sheer panache, baby! The whole point of parentheses is that they de-emphasize the nonessential phrase you’re setting aside. Example: Nasopharyngitis (the common cold) may be impossible to eradicate. Nobody’s that excited about the common cold. Come on.

Commas. These are just store-brand em dashes, watered down versions without all that spicy flavor. The comma is a neutral syntactical choice. You’ve heard of the dramatic pause? Get ready for the anticlimactic pause. Example: My girlfriend, a phenomenal cook, made a delicious sandwich. Is it newsworthy that your girlfriend is a phenomenal cook? Unlikely. My girlfriend—Belletrist babe and notorious reader Emma Roberts—made a delicious sandwich. Now, there’s a parenthetical phrase that would transcend commas. (Also, call me, Emma.)

Em dashes. Let’s consider what ‘nonessential’ actually means. Technically, stylistic choices like leopard print coats and pink hair are nonessential. But when you walk into a room, don’t they get the job done? Hell yeah. The air horn of the punctuation world, the em dash does the same thing as parentheses and commas but with an entirely different tone. Example: My sister—who slept with my husband—just asked me for money. Let’s try again: My sister (who slept with my husband) just asked me for money. Did this happen? No. If it did, would I have used an em dash to relay the info? You know it.


"Love the em dash."

Image Via Grammarly


That being said, even my beloved em dash is not perfect. You know how books sometimes start off with sound effects? Bang. My ex-husband was dead. Wham! My sixteenth birthday, the day of the Trial that would determine my whole future, began when my jealous sister slapped me with my own Timesetter. You get the message. You can’t start off a book with bang! Wham! Crash! Boom! You could, but it would be annoying—and it’s possible you’re annoyed already. Similarly, you can’t fill an article with em dashes (though if you click anything by Krisdee Dishmon, you’ll realize I’ve certainly tried).

Time for Q&A. The major question people have seems to be ‘aren’t these interchangeable?’ That, of course, is a subcategory of all the more pressing questions. ‘Isn’t grammar pointless? Will someone ever want to date you?’ The answer to all three, as you might be shocked to learn, is a resounding NO.


Em Dash examples

Image Via Translabo Berlin WordPress


For the same reason that you wouldn’t use an exclamation point to conclude an uneventful sentence, you wouldn’t use an em dash for a job that parentheses can do. Can you? Sure. Should you? I say no. As Josh from Drake and Josh would say, it’s for emphasis. EMPHASIS! (Click here if you don’t get that reference.)

You may be wondering whether or not I have a right to this opinion: a passion for em dashes that, if converted into a numeric value, would dwarf the GDP of even the wealthiest nations. Yes, I do. They may not have hired me at my local coffee shop, but, as a creative writing graduate and former English teacher / SAT grammar tutor, I am good for something—even if that thing is yelling on the Internet.

*I respect you very much, Scott. I just also respect the commanding presence of the em dash.


Featured Image Via Radix Communications

I Am by Benjamin Giroux

Boy With Autism Pens Viral Heartfelt Poem!

Benjamin Giroux always felt different because of his autism, and at times it made him stand out from the other children in ways he didn’t ask for. However, he has found a new way to distinguish himself- his literary superpower!

Viralslot shared a poem that a ten-year-old Benjamin wrote back in 2016 for class. His poem, “I Am,” amazed his teacher and gained him online supporters. It has gone viral since the last couple of years. It has even been shared and highlighted by the National Autism Association, and it deserves to keep being admired.

The poem reads:


I am odd, I am new.
I wonder if you are too.
I hear voices in the air.
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair.
I feel like a boy in outer space.
I touch the stars and feel out of place.
I worry what others might think.
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink.
I am odd, I am new.
I understand now that so are you.
I say, “I feel like a castaway.”
I dream of a day that that’s okay.
I try to fit in.
I hope that someday I do.
I am odd, I am new.


I Am by Benjamin Giroux

Image via Viralslot


“Ben’s goal was to have people understand that being odd is different, and different is amazing, and people shouldn’t be afraid of who they are,” Sonny Giroux told Today. “And that makes me one proud father!”

There is a powerful kind of honesty and vulnerability that is displayed in Benjamin’s words. An inability to connect with people is hard. Admitting to wanting to, can be even harder. Benjamin surely just scratched the surface of his talents back in fifth grade. He will be one to look out for in the future ahead.



Featured Image via Today

10 Best Careers for People Who Love to Read Books

Are you an avid reader who just graduated college, or who is currently working an unfulfilling job? Are you thinking of how to apply your love of reading to a job that will actually make you money? Check out these ten jobs that are perfect for readers!


book reader

Image Via Timeshighereducation.com


1. Librarian



Image Via Lifestyle.clickhole.com


You expected this, didn’t you? Of course, when someone wants a career in books, this is the one that comes to mind. You will not always be reading books, but you will be surrounded by them. You will impart your wisdom, passion, and devotion to reading to the youth, and have discussions with like-minded people!


2. Literary Agent



Image Via Kellermedia.com


A literary agent is the bridge between the author and publisher. They are the writer’s representatives, who seek out publishers and negotiate deals and contracts. They also read a bunch of manuscripts before they decide want to take a chance on a writer. It is highly recommended to find an agent, rather than submitting your manuscript un-agented to a publishing house, many of whom won’t accept manuscripts from authors who are not represented by an agent.


3. Publisher



Image Via Penguinrandomhouse.com


Working at a publisher means you could be involved in the editing, cover design, marketing or any other aspect of the production of a book. In any of these fields, you can exercise your creativity, choices, and have your eyes on the page all day! What more could you want?


4. Proofreader



Image Via Wellkeptwallet.com


If you love to read, then surely you appreciate the rules of grammar. The job of proofreaders is to correct grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. Proofreading is one of the most available and desired positions to be filled in the job market.


5. Script Reader


script reader

Image Via Screencraft.org


Are you into movies, television series, or films in general? You can read script submissions from writers who are looking to work on a desired show, and make the decision to accept or toss it onto the rejection pile. Reading a lot of books, plays, and scripts, makes you qualified to decide what is acceptable.


6. Book Reviewers



Image Via Justpublishingadvice.com


Based on employer’s rules and regulations you get to critique books by writing articles or on book websites—regarding essence of story like plot, setting, tone, and believability.


7. Translator



Image Via Ulatus.com


This job requires you to be at least bilingual. A translator translates books between languages. You are expected to read and rewrite copies—taking into consideration of grammar rules. As a reader, you are passionate about the essence of language, and this job will provide a closer relationship with it.


8. Book Publicist



Image Via Reedsy.com


You will be responsible and accountable for marketing books. You’ll be scheduling book signings, contacting media outlets such as newspapers, radio shows, and television producers to schedule interviews for representation and promotion for the targeted book.


9. Teacher



Images Via Ideas.Ted.Com


Want to inspire fresh young minds to read? Then being a reading level teacher for elementary school is just for you! You could also be an English teacher in middle school or high school or even college professor!


10. Independent Bookstore Proprietor


Independent book store

Images Via Fallingrockcafe.com


Are you the kind of person that does not like to work for others? If you are looking forward to opening up your own business and immersing yourself in your love into reading somewhere, you can open up your bookstore with the help of social media and the internet these days. This way you will have a duty for others by helping their book reading passion.


As you come to the end of the list, then you will see that there are plenty of jobs for book lovers who need your love of reading, passion for writing, and knowledge of grammar. All it takes is to explore and to open your heart and your book up to the possibilities!




Featured Image Via Indiatvnews.com