Posted by Smokey Stover on January 25, 2004
In Reply to: &mdash posted by Ho Ted on January 23, 2004
: : : : : : Is it a word?
: : : : : In printing there is an Em Dash and an En dash
: : : : : N-Dash is a -
: : : : : M-Dash is a longer dash a --
: : : : No question that 'em' and 'en' are words. My question was raised
: : : : by the first sentence in Maureen Dowd's column in today's New York Times:
: : : : 'Washington - Whoa!' Are there three words in this sentence?
: : : : If so, the second begins with the letter (?) '&'?
: : : Now we know - battle of the pedants. Only a contentious jerk would suggest that a punctuation mark is a word.
: : : 2 words - "washington" and "whoa" simple as that.
: : Calm down. Some internet transmissions that cross browsers or platforms have trouble interpreting some alphanumeric characters. One version of Word to another, Netscape to Explorer, Mac to Windows, and so forth. Occasionally, sometning like an em dash is transcribed "&emdash" which is apparently what happened in this case. It looks a little like a word in that context, thus the question.
: 'a little like a word' but NOT a word. any old string as ASCII characters could appear, but it doesn't mean that you can call them 'words' in anything other than a cryptographic sense.
: Rant over.
I didn't see the Maureen Dowd column, but if she said "8mdash" or meant to say "8mdash," then I say "Maureen Dowd----WHOA!" If you are trying to express in English a dash that is eight ems long, try saying "8-em dash." Doesn't the Times have a proof-reader? Or a style sheet? But maybe that's not what Dowd meant to say. Why would anyone need a dash of that length? SS