Explaining the Em Dash — and Its Many Magical Uses

Lighted sign of a question mark with the text What is an em dash? on top
We named our bookstore after the Em Dash ( —) for several reasons. Despite knowing most people would probably say "What the heck is an Em Dash?!" We did it anyway. Here's where our inspiration comes from and how it's connected to our non-profit mission.
An Em Dash is one of a group of punctuation marks that include a hyphen (-), an en dash (–), and lastly an em dash ( —). Think of them as a spectrum ending with the longest and BEST — the em dash. The "en" and "em" refer to the length of the mark. En dash is the length of the letter N and em dash is the length of the letter M. 

The En Dash pretty much just has one use. It's used in place of the word to when writing about a range of things like dates or numbers. 

The Em Dash on the other hand is magical and transformative. It can replace a semi colon, a colon, a comma, and even parentheses in a sentence. Much like great book, it brings color and style to writing. It's SO powerful, editors usually recommend only using one or two per page of writing. When used as an aside instead of a parenthetical it adds emphasis. It has pizzazz. 

Reading too adds to our lives. It can take you to magical places! There are as many types of genres as there are uses for this punctuation mark. We want to encourage literacy by helping children find books based on their interests and help teachers find modern books to pair with classic literature that will engage even the most reluctant of students. The Em Dash's length implies longevity. We want to help create lifelong readers!

You've probably seen one before but never known that "extra long hyphen" had it's own name. Now you do! Reading should be an everyday part of our lives. We want to make that a reality to small towns all over Texas that might not have regular access to a bookstore. 

Now you know about the Em Dash, you're part of our community — Welcome to the family!