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The Duel of the Ages

The Grammar Lesson

By Samuel Stoddard

This is the letter of email I sent to Dave that started this whole thing. We had been discussing points of grammar, specifically the uses and misuses of the dash. We both feel the dash is overused in English prose, Dave more so than I. Here, I was explaining what I feel to be a justified use of the dash. I make the fortunate mistake of using one of Dave's protagonists and one of mine together in an example. I closed with a joke, and that, of course, made Dave's reply inevitable.
This is my standard punctuation mark whenever one character cuts off another in dialogue. I don't like to use the ellipsis, because, to me, it means that the character trails off before the second character starts talking. Like this:

Blood Drops blinked in amazement. "I don't know how it--"
"You don't know nothing!" Darius interrupted.

For me, this works much better than:

Blood Drops blinked in amazement. "I don't know how it..."
"You don't know nothing!" Darius interrupted.

Even with the word "interrupted," explaining Darius' actions, it still seems like Blood Drops, for whatever reason, trailed off in the middle of his sentence before Darius said anything.

And _BTW_, just where do you get off telling my prize character that he's dumb, HUH???? :-) :-)

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