The um-dash

Wed Aug 9 '23

If you have read my blog or other writings for any amount of time, first of all, sorry, but secondly, you’ll know I make gratuitous use of the em-dash. I find it great for interjections, but it can also be used to inject some dramatic pauses into text—like this.

Sometimes, however, the em-dash just doesn’t cut it, sass-wise. There are longer options for this, like the 3-em dash⸻a dastardly long strike that can only be interpreted as total bewilderment. I use this sparingly but pointedly.

Unfortunately, the creator of the world wide web, Al Gore, decided this was long enough to cover all the range of human emotions expressed as text, and so the 4-em dash was scrapped.

I don’t think like Al Gore though, and I certainly don’t look like him: I think we have only begun to plumb the depths of various line lengths in punctuation.

It was with this thought, or maybe the absense of productive thoughts, that I developed the um-dash a truly apocalyptic pause in text.

Please use it with caution.

dash type









green pepper

2-em dash


3-em dash

scotch bonnet


heat of a thousand suns on your tongue