Em Dashes

A lot of people use semi-colons wrong because they know there’s supposed to be a pause in their sentence that they know isn’t quite a comma, so they think it must be that mysterious semi-colon. Usually, it’s actually supposed to be an em dash (—), which in some ways is more mysterious!

The em dash is the longest of the three dashes and most often used for interruptions. Interruptions in speech, in action, in thought. It’s also a great syntax addition for fight scenes, since it makes the narrative seem quick and unexpected and jolting from side to side like a fight scene should be. Read your em dash sentences out loud until you get a feel for how its pause compares to the pause of a comma. It’s a heartbeat longer. If a comma is one beat of pause, then I see an em dash as two beats of pause.

In this first example, the em dash is used to give an aside to the reader. It’s like a btw sort of moment, which can sometimes be replaced with commas or parenthesis. I think the em dashes are most suitable when your aside is decently long.

Her neighbor, Frank, is always blasting music.

Her neighbor—the one who always blasts the music—is named Frank.

My mischievous neighbor, Vince, seemed to have a knack for graveyard cavorting.

Vince—more often called (in a raised and angry voice) Vincent Price Ramsey—seemed to have a knack for graveyard cavorting.

Next up, here’s the em dash as a replacement for the semi-colon. Kinda like a slang or shortened sentence. Semi-colons have to connect two independent clauses—meaning each side of the semi-colon could stand alone as its own complete sentence. If you don’t want to do that, try an em dash:

I thought hanging out would be great—a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

I thought hanging out would be great; it would be a chance to finally see the city, just like Aunt Lillian wanted.

There was a headstone hardly a foot from where I’d emerged—dark grey stone a few inches thick and maybe as high as my knee.

There was a headstone hardly a foot from where I’d emerged; it was made of dark grey stone a few inches thick and maybe as high as my knee.

Sometimes, you can use an em dash to have a speaker correct themselves, or interrupt themselves to amend their sentence.

I could see the blur of the graveyard behind him—through him—

Similar to the last example, it can be used to interrupt a sentence in order to add additional information about the sentence. Often you can use a comma in this situation, too, so try to think of syntax and how that additional beat of pause changes things. In this case, Alice has just seen a ghost for the first time, so her mind is a bit too shocked for the normal pause of a comma. Read both. Doesn’t the one with the em dash sound more shocked or surprised, while the comma makes it sound like a simple observation?

He was glowing pale—almost tinged in cold blue.

He was glowing pale, almost tinged in cold blue.

Of course, it could be an interruption. It could be someone interrupting another in speech, one action interrupting another, or a character’s thoughts interrupting themselves. Here I’ll include the sentence with the em dash and the sentence following, so you can see the thing interrupted and the interruption.

You can have an action interrupt a character’s thoughts. For the first one, Alice is in a creepy situation and completely focused on something else, so when something touches her elbow, she’s shocked out of her thoughts. For the second one, Tristan is listening for an enemy when the enemy makes a move and startles him into action.

As far as I could tell it was some kind of berry—

An icy contact on my elbow broke my resolve, and I screamed until an equally cold hand clamped over my mouth.

The night was still, and yet—

Something whistled through the air. Tristan jerked backwards, narrowly avoiding an incoming dagger.

Here we have one character interrupting another in dialogue. Pretty self-explanatory.

“I’m not going to—”

Mom’s voice in the receiver cut me off. “At least consider it.”

“After all, you’re only a—”

“If you even say girl,” I interrupted, “I’ll stab you, I swear.”

The next one is part of a fight scene, so Alice’s thoughts are interrupting themselves as soon as she thinks them. She throws up an idea, “iron,” but interrupts herself from further exploring that idea, and instead casts it out. In a fight, you don’t have time to think out long, eloquent ideas. Your thoughts should come in fragments. Stab. Punch. Dodge. Swing. Would this work? No. How about this? Maybe. The em dash can help get across this uneven jolting of thoughts.

Iron—no use. I’d dropped the knife when her damn vines ensnared me, and the nails were in my pockets and out of reach. Blood—there were possibilities there.

Continuing in fight scenes, em dashes can have action interrupt action. Don’t just throw them in willy nilly, but if you have a chance for an em dash, jump on it. Instead of a word like “suddenly,” it makes it feel suddenly. Ups the tension. Em dashes are about interruption, and what is a fight scene but two people interrupting each other’s attempts to kill the other? This is especially useful for the last line in a paragraph during a fighting scene, because it’s a nice place to have one action interrupt another.

I snatched it—slit across my hand—

And stabbed her through the heart.

His swords whistled through the air—

A clean “X” appeared on the imp’s back, severing its body into four neat chunks.

So yeah, I’m basically obsessed with em dashes and I use more of them than the majority of writers. (At 72k words, my current project has 22 semi-colons and 344 em dashes. So. Yeah. Not to mention the length of this post…) Em dashes are way cool and can add a lot to your writing even though they’re just another form of punctuation. Syntax helps your reader into the mindset you’re going for, and em dashes can be a great, powerful part of that syntax!


Walking in the Wind is a bonus song on Made in the A.M. It doesn’t fit easily into the One Direction canon; it’s not swaggering or fit for a stadium. There are no rivals, no romantic interests, no ships. This is One Direction doing Paul Simon. This is One Direction sitting back, taking a breath, settling into a story.

From the opening, stepping guitar, Walking in the Wind is unhurried. A week ago you said to me, do you believe I’ll never be too far. The song is an exchange between one who’s lost someone, and the one who’s been lost. The fact that we can sit right here and say goodbye, means we’ve already won. The latter remembers their time together, and the former insists: it isn’t over, you’ll find me, there’s still more to come. We had some good times, didn’t we? We had some good tricks up our sleeve. The one who lost sings. And the other responds: But it’s not the end. I’ll see your face again.

Walking in the Wind isn’t a sharp song. It’s imprecise. But it points at a singer trying to interrogate the loss, trying to understand the promise and the inevitable breaking of that promise. The song examines, rather than argue. It doesn’t defend against the present or future absence. There is no armor, no mechanism. Simply truth. The song looks back on what once existed, and recognizes it as a faded medium: a Polaroid.

But that’s okay! The song insists. It’s catchy and chill. The melody picks up and sweeps forward. They sing, insistently: You will find me, in places that we’ve never been. For all that the song is about, the music is upbeat and optimistic. It’s okay, it will be okay. We’re sure of it.

Harry Styles, a co-writer on Walking in the Wind, said of another song he wrote, Olivia, that “it doesn’t have to be so literal.” Olivia doesn’t have to be a person, he insisted. It could be a place. “Sometimes I think it’s cool to take an emotion and personify it.”

I think the same thought applies to Walking in the Wind.

The song is about loss, yes, but not necessarily one loss, one absence. As adults, we become inured to small deaths. The numbers we lose, the friendships that fall away, the moments we forget. All small, nearly imperceptible endings in our daily lives. So many, that soon we stop counting. We’re taught that every door closing will open another, and we whisper this to ourselves, enough so that we forget to notice if another door does open, or if the first door simply stays closed.

We come to understand these endings by containing them within a story. We accept a break up because a best friend says, “Sometimes, relationships take so many parts of you, that by the end, you’re left with nothing,” and you decide to think about the break up as you would a survival story, rather than the more pedestrian “we stopped liking each other.” A move becomes a step forward, rather than a step away; a fight becomes a miscommunication.

Walking in the Wind is trying to decide which story to tell. The one of the absence, or the one of the future reconciliation. This song is about loss. But it’s also about the stories we tell about those losses, and the ways we claim them.

Yesterday I went out to celebrate the birthday of a friend. But as we raised our glasses up to make a toast, I realized you were missing.

Stories rename themselves as we go. Their edges shift. Their definitions change. The way we experience them in the moment is different from the way we experience them in retrospect, and this is what Walking in the Wind hinges on. It’s optimistic, still, in that moment of reckoning. The song insists: you will find me. What has happened, has happened. But more is to come.

This isn’t a song about mourning. It’s about the story that comes from the mess. It’s not an ending, or even a punctuation mark. It’s a semi-colon. Unresolved.  

We may not know if it’s okay. We may not know for awhile.

We had some good times, didn’t we? We wore our hearts out on our sleeve.

We don’t have to understand.

Goodbyes are bittersweet. But it’s not the end.

Not yet.

I’ll see your face again.

-Kelsey Ford is a writer living in Los Angeles.

how to get grade 9s in english


  • how i studied for english lit
  • poetry terms (subject terminology is key)
  • thorough tips
  • what i used to analyse ‘a christmas carol’
  • essay structure
  • analyse your books like your life depends on it 
  • tips, more tips, and more (there’s a thread!)
  • try and spot different literary devices!
  • always challenge yourself when you’re writing an essay, you can ALWAYS improve
  • use a range of evidence! 
  • use subject terminology! (e.g simile, metaphor etc)
  • be specific about the effects on the reader!
  • write a lot of essays! whether it’s under timed conditions or not…do it! honestly i wrote more essays in year 11 than i have in my entire life!
  • know your book inside out! know your characters (maybe make flashcards and mindmaps on them!) know all the themes as well!!
  • re read your books!! it’s a closed book exam so you need know a lot of quotes (use at least 2 quotes per paragraph)
  • following on from the previous point, if you know even one word of a quote use it!!! ok!! cheat the exams!! it’s still evidence 
  • do practice questions (yes it was new spec and no there wasn’t any past papers, so I made them up! but you can also find made up ones online)
  • do not be discouraged by a low mark! see it as an opportunity to improve!! no essay is ever perfect!
  • for real always include context in an essay (e.g societal expectations at the time? etc) !! and use the correct term of the year e.g jacobean era, victorian etc
  • revise for your mocks!! (this is for both language and literature)! it gives you an insight on how you’re doing and makes it easier to revise for the final exams
  • for poetry memorise quotes and honestly write a bunch of comparison essays (or make detailed plans for comparison essays) (i’ve actually made a video on how i studied poems)
  • always mention the writer’s name, it honestly forces you to talk about the intentions of the writer!


  • extend your vocabulary 
  • use different sentence lengths (i’m talking about section 2 in both language papers)
  • use different connecting words!! suggest and shows gets boring after the 6th time in a row please
  • practice writing stories and articles!! 
  • practice answering questions in general and get someone to mark them
  • use/ talk about different devices e.g extended metaphors, similes, facts etc
  • know your mark scheme inside out (what does your examiner want from you?)
  • make sure your timing is right!! it’s essential! so practice doing papers under timed conditions!
  • know your mark scheme inside out! find out what they want to see from you!! maybe writer’s intentions?? judicious range of evidence??
  • read books!! write descriptions!! write stories!! paint scenery!! in order to get you in the mood of creative writing
  • when writing formal articles, make sure to use the form of the article e.g when writing a letter use dear/ write an address/ sign off with yours sincerely, similarly when writing an article for a newspaper have a heading/subheading
  • also technical accuracy is crucial! so make sure you check over to see you’ve spelt things right! included commas!! and get fancy (use semi colons, quotation marks etc when you can, but only if you know how to use them!!)
  • also in general don’t forget to rest!!! chill!!! take breaks!! drink some water!! eat some fruits!! get that chocolate!! TREAT YO SELF!!

if anyone has anymore tips feel free to add on!!

anonymous asked:

Why do you hate semi colon tattoos so much??

They look stupid, they’re lazy, they’re badly thought out, they’re LAZY, they’re patronizing to people with mental illnesses, and they’re fucking LAZY. 

Congrats, you saw a trend of people getting the simplest tattoo possible and claiming it’s for mental health awareness so you hopped on the bandwagon and tried to say that the tattoo was personal to YOU and YOUR LIFE, when it’s not. You have the exact same tattoo as a million other people. It’s not personal, you’re just not creative and you wanted to follow a trend.

My mental illness destroyed me. My mental illness almost killed me. My mental illness, should I choose to embody it in a tattoo that will be on my body forever, is more deserving of something unique and special than an upside down circle on top of a slightly squigglier circle on my wrist that a million other people have.

Grow up. Learn to think for yourself. 

And by the way, a semicolon doesn’t mean “when the author could have ended the sentence but chose not to uwu” it fucking indicates a pause between two main clauses in a sentence. 

The Basic Basics of Ancient Greek

For @temples-wreathed-in-laurel and anyone else who wants to learn :)

Alphabet and Pronunciation

The pronunciation I use is reconstructed Ancient Greek pronunciation as I was taught at school. It’s basically modern Greek, except the pronunciation of some letters is different. There is some debate about how Ancient Greek sounded, however, so others who have studied it may disagree with me.

Α, α: alpha, corresponds to English A. Pronounced “ah”, as in that sound you make when you notice something that displeases you.

Β, β: beta, corresponds to English B and is pronounced the same way.

Γ, γ: gamma, corresponds to English G and is pronounced the same way. In front of κ, μ, ν, ξ, or χ it is pronounced “ng” as in “doing”.

Δ, δ: delta, corresponds to English D and is pronounced the same way, only a little bit more dental (try saying it by putting your tongue against your teeth).

Ε, ε: epsilon, corresponds to a short English E. American and British English don’t really have a sound for it (though I may be mistaken) but it is pronounced a bit like French “é” or “get” with a New Zealand accent.

Ζ, ζ: zeta, corresponds to English Z. Pronounced “dz”. Some people pronounce it “ts” or “z”.

Η, η: eta, corresponds to a long English E. Pronounced “eh” as in “there” or “fair”.

Θ, θ: theta, doesn’t have an English equivalent. Pronounced “th” as in “think”.

Ι, ι: iota, corresponds to English I. Pronounced “ee” as in “keep”.

Κ, κ: kappa, corresponds to English K and is pronounced the same way.

Λ, λ: lambda, corresponds to English L and is pronounced the same way, only a little more dental (like the delta).

Μ, μ: mu, corresponds to English M and is pronounced the same way.

Ν, ν: nu, corresponds to English N and is pronounced the same way.

Ξ, ξ: xi, corresponds to English X. Pronounced “ks”.

Ο, ο: omikron, corresponds to a short English O. Pronounced “o” as in “or”.

Π, π: pi, corresponds to 3.14159 and English P. Pronounced “three point one four one five nine” or simply “p”.

Ρ, ρ: rho, corresponds to English R. It is trilled as in modern Greek or Spanish.

Σ, σ, ς: sigma, corresponds to English S. Pronounced “s” as in “snake”. Sigma is special because there are two ways of writing it. ς is only used at the end of the word, and is σ used everywhere else (ex: κοσμος).

Τ, τ: tau, corresponds to English T and pronounced the same way, only a little more dental (like the delta and lambda).

Υ, υ: upsilon, corresponds to English U. Pronounced “ew” as in that sound you make when you’re disgusted, only a little more closed (like the French “u”).

Φ, φ: phi, doesn’t have an English equivalent. Pronounced “f”.

Χ, χ: khi, doesn’t have an English equivalent. Pronounced “ch” like the German “ach”. Try to growl like a tiger, sounding both fierce and annoyed at the same time, and you might have it.

Ψ, ψ: psi, doesn’t have an English equivalent. Pronounced “ps”.

Ω, ω: omega, corresponds to a long English O. Pronounced “oh” as in “got” with a British accent (as opposed to the American “gaht”).

Ancient Greek also has diphthongs, meaning two letters making one single sound (English has this with “ou”, for example). These are:

αι: pronounced “ay”, like the word “eye” but more like the Spanish “Ay!”.

ει: pronounced “ey” as in “hey”.

οι: pronounced “oy”.

αυ: pronounced “ow” as in that sound you make when you’re hurt.

ευ: this one’s a bit difficult. It’s like “ew”, except instead of the “e”, you use the epsilon sound described above.

ου: pronounced “oo” as in “cool”, but more closed (like the French “ou”).

Here’s a sentence as an example:

Παιδευω την αρχαιην ελληνικην γλωσσην μετα σιστεροφιρις.

That means: I am learning the Greek language with sisterofiris. Try to read it using the pronunciation above!

Except there’s a small problem with the sentence above, namely: accentuation.


Ancient Greek, unlike modern Greek, has many accents. There are two types: tonal accents, which show you where the stress is in a word, and breathings, which show you whether or not there’s an “h” sound at the beginning of a word.

When using capital letters, these accents are written before the letter (example: Ά). Otherwise, they are written on top of the letter (example: ά). They are only written on vowels, with the exception of ρ, which always takes a rough breathing (ῥ) at the beginning of a word.

ἁ is a rough breathing. It means that this letter is pronounced “ha”.

ἀ is a smooth breathing. It means that this letter is pronounced just “a”.

ά is an acute accent (not to be confused with a cute accent). It means that you stress this syllable. Your voice goes up, like when you ask a question.

ὰ is a grave accent. It basically means there is no accent. Ignore it.

ᾶ is a circumflex accent. It means that this syllable is long and stressed. Your voice goes down.

Breathings are only used at the beginning of a word. So if your name is Hank, great! But if your name is Rihanna, sorry, you’ll have to settle for Rianna.

You can have any combination of one breathing and one tonal accent on a letter. This means you can have letters that look like this: ἂ, ἇ, ἅ. But you can only have one breathing, and only one tonal accent, on a letter at a time.

As a general rule, you can only have one tonal accent per word, but there are exceptions. Some very short words don’t have tonal accents at all.

With this in mind, let’s rewrite our sentence:

Παιδεύω τὴν ἀρχαίην ἑλληνικήν γλώσσην μετα σιστεροφίρις.

But wait, there’s more!


There are four different kinds of punctuation in Ancient Greek: the question mark, the colon/semi-colon, the comma and the full stop.

; is the question mark. Confusing, I know. In a sentence, this would be: Παιδεύω τὴν ἀρχαίην ἑλληνικήν γλώσσην μετα σιστεροφίρις; Am I learning the Ancient Greek language with sisterofiris?

˙ is very small, but it is both the colon and the semi-colon. Παιδεύω τὴν ἀρχαίην ἑλληνικήν γλώσσην μετα σιστεροφίρις˙ και… I am learning the Ancient Greek language with sisterofiris; and… Or I am learning the Ancient Greek language with sisterofiris: and…

, is the comma. It works just like in every other language.

. is the full stop. Like the comma, it works just the same as in every other language.

Unfortunately, there is no exclamation mark in Ancient Greek, so you can’t excitedly say:

I am learning the Ancient Greek language with sisterofiris!


so I did a thing last night…

I have bad anxiety and depression and I have suffered my entire life. Last summer was when I was at my absolute worst. And then I found twenty one pilots and it was like Tyler was talking about what was going on in my head at that time and I was hooked. When I feel like I don’t want to go on, I remember how important I am and that I need to stay alive.

With that being said, I got these lyrics permanently on my skin. Although there are so many tøp lyrics that stick out in my mind and that have really kept me going, these are the ones that really get to me every time I listen.

If anyone in my clique fam needs a shoulder, my ask is always open.

stay alive y'all. ✌🏼❤️👽

Tattoo AU Headcanons

by @wonder-rangers @trinisgayforkimberly @katedisun and @penvision

- Trini and Billly work in a tattoo parlor called ‘the pit’ next to a Krispy Kreme where Zack somehow got promoted to assistant manager

- Trini is not a morning person, at all, (never mind that 'the pit’ opens at 11) so she always stops at Krispey Kreme on the way in to pick up her and Billy’s usual from Zack

- Zack mentions that the little shop next door has finally sold (after greeting her way too enthusiastically)

- Trini half listens as he goes on about flowers and a girl in pink

- It doesn’t click until the next morning when she sees a guy unloading bushels and bushels of plants from a truck

- A girl in a pink tank top steps out to help him and Trini almost walks into a parking meter

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Coming Home

Set after 6x14 – Killian returns and Emma finds him sitting on the steps of the front porch, in front of their house.
Word Count: 824
Read it on ao3 here ~ Read my other fics here 

Emma could feel her fingers going numb even though she had her gloves on. She didn’t mind – the cold nipping at her made her feel better than she had in the last two days. She hadn’t even driven the bug to the loft, which didn’t help her case. Every time she thought of the loft, she would picture the pitying glances she got from her parents, Regina, and Henry. Instead of it giving her consolation, she felt white, hot anger every time she thought of that. She chose to think about that instead of him. Instead of how it had felt to come back to an empty house – to know he had left; to know he had abandoned her. Which was why, as she hurried towards the house, she stopped short in complete shock. Relief spread through her as she saw him sitting on the porch. He looked up at her and she could see how unsure he was about her reaction.

“Killian,” she barely whispered, not moving. It was as if he was an illusion that would shatter the second she moved towards him.

“Emma,” he responded, standing up, trying to hide the crushing guilt that he felt when she didn’t walk towards him. It was one of those rare times where he wasn’t able to read her emotions behind her expression of shock. He couldn’t tell if she was happy to see him or not. There was a deafening silence before he said, “I’m sorry.”

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Starting Sentences with “I”

Anonymous asked: “Most of my sentences start with the word ‘I’ or a character’s name. It makes the writing feel monotonous, but I can’t seem to fix it or change my habits. Any tips?”

What is most likely the issue is that your scenes contain only action. “I do this” or “he does that.” That’s not so much of an issue, but once you include more exposition and especially since it’s first person, the thoughts and feelings of the main character, the issue will likely resolve itself. 

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