The colon to expand; the em dash to summarize
<ul><li>The colon signals that what follows the colon will build upon what comes before it.  Examples, definitions, and ex...
The colon thus signals a forward movement or a push.  Yet another way to visualize the function of the colon is to think o...
<ul><li>The em dash is the exact opposite of the colon, signalling a pull rather than a push.  What comes after the em das...
To visualize the function of the em dash, again think of a funnel:  the material is packed closer together to force it to ...
Connect with us on: http://www.facebook.com/Editage http://www.twitter.com/Editage http://www.linkedin.com/company/cactus-...
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The colon to expand; the em dash to summarize

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"Publish and prosper" is a series of posts about tips for researchers whose first language is not English but who submit papers to journals published in English. The series touches upon not only writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, and style) but everything else relevant to publishing research papers that journal editors wish their authors knew.

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The colon to expand; the em dash to summarize

  1. 1. The colon to expand; the em dash to summarize
  2. 2. <ul><li>The colon signals that what follows the colon will build upon what comes before it. Examples, definitions, and explanations are the three most common types of information to follow the colon , as illustrated below. </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation is a system of symbols: commas, semicolons, colons, quotation marks, dashes, and so on. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not mistake punctuation marks for diacritical marks: symbols placed over, under, or through a letter to indicate that a letter is to be pronounced differently from one without such a mark. </li></ul><ul><li>All the plants were clones: identical copies developed not from seed but from a bit of tissue carefully nurtured in the laboratory to develop into many saplings, each with its own root system, stem, and leaves. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The colon thus signals a forward movement or a push. Yet another way to visualize the function of the colon is to think of an inverted funnel: after flowing through a narrow tube, the mouth suddenly widens and information begins to flow faster.
  4. 4. <ul><li>The em dash is the exact opposite of the colon, signalling a pull rather than a push. What comes after the em dash is a summary or a conclusion that re-states the essence of what came before the dash. Consider the following examples. </li></ul><ul><li>Commas, semicolons, colons, quotation marks, dashes, and so on-a writer's tool box, handy for assembling text. </li></ul><ul><li>Whereas English names can be printed without difficulty, French, Spanish, and German names (to name a few languages) require a wider assortment of symbols such as the acute accent (le Carré), the tilde (Peña), and the umlaut (Müller)-diacritical marks are essential if such names are to be printed properly. </li></ul><ul><li>All the six children looked alike, talked alike, and gestured alike-they were clones. </li></ul>
  5. 5. To visualize the function of the em dash, again think of a funnel: the material is packed closer together to force it to flow through the narrow end. In more literary text, the em dash also introduces a surprise, a twist in the tail as it were.
  6. 6. Connect with us on: http://www.facebook.com/Editage http://www.twitter.com/Editage http://www.linkedin.com/company/cactus-communications Connect http://blog.editage.com

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