The Sentence Is Over…

Margie Wakeman Wells The Dash, Uncategorized 2 Comments

We see this same pattern often: We have finished a sentence; then we throw in something that renames the subject of that sentence.

…We decided to spend the weekend away — my husband and I….The company had been in the red — Mitchell Engineering.
…That is what I wanted to tell you — that he was here today.

The grammar here is that the element after the complete sentence is an appositive to the subject of the sentence. In each case, it can be inserted into the sentence for the subject.

…My husband and I decided to spend the weekend away.
…Mitchell Engineering had been in the red.
at he was here today is what I wanted to tell you.

Since the appositive comes after the sentence has concluded, it takes a dash.

If the sentence is asking a question, there are two interrogs.

…Who decided to go forward? Your boss?
…Was the bank in error? Chase Bank?
…Was that your understanding? That he would meet you there?

Happy punctuating!


Comments 2

    1. Post


      There is just not a comma rule that covers it, and to go back a step further, there is nothing for that extra piece to do in the sentence except to be an appositive. The farther away an appositive gets from what it renames, the more it is going to need a dash because of the “interruption” it is to the flow of the sentence.

      Hope this helps.


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