Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Too Many Dashes in the New York Times?

On the March 25 print front page of the Times, each of six stories had at least one dash on the front-page part of the story. Page A1 contained a total of 16 dashes in the text. The lead story had two pairs of dashes in the first two paragraphs. 

Earlier in my career, I peppered by writing with lots of dashes. After a while, I realized that the dashes broke up the flow of the sentences and that if spent more time crafting a sentence, I could dispense with the dashes. I still use dashes, but not very often. 

My statistics on dashes in the Times come from “After Deadline,” a column in the Times Topics blog. The column examines questions of grammar, usage, and style that writers and editors of the paper encounter. This particular column offers excerpts from the dash-laden articles and also discusses other stylistic and grammatical issues.



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