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September 2013

Great blog post on the em-dash, plus a hint on how to type it

Over at the Lawyerist, Matthew Salzwedel has posted a terrific piece on The Enigmatic EmDash. Its history, its proper use, its misuse—Matthew covers it all.

One thing I’ll add to Matthew’s article is an easy way to type an em dash, at least on a PC with a full keyboard. First, make sure your Num Lock is on. That’s the key in the upper left corner of your numeric keypad. To type an em dash, hold down the Alt key while typing 0151 on your numeric keypad. Then release the Alt key and–voila!

The quotative “like.”

Readers of this blog probably dislike what Stan Carey refers to as the quotative like: using like to introduce a quotation. E.g., “I’m like, ‘no way!’.” Now, I do not recommend the quotative like in legal writing. For example, “The trial judge was like, ‘objection sustained’” would probably get your brief hung on the wall of shame. But in less formal contexts, perhaps the quotative like can do things that more traditional verbs, like said, cannot. At least Stan thinks so. And if a usage fills a gap in traditional usage, it’s likely to catch on.