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# What is dash meant for..?

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Manager
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What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2010, 03:19
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Guys ,
What does a dash(-) signify in a sentence . I was intimidated to see a one in the
actual GMAT test.

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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2010, 07:10
- is a seperator of the non-essential part
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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2010, 10:05
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If it is a dash (the longer version of -) then, the context may decide the usage. But on the contrary, if it is the shorter version (-), then it may be a hyphen, which signifies an apposition, kind of additional information to the noun or the clause it touches. The info that follows will be an inessential one, which may be conveniently ignored.
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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2010, 16:08
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Raths,

Although the dash is pretty rare on the GMAT, it certainly does show up and is therefore worth discussing. Most often, the dash can take the place of a comma under a few specific scenarios:

1. The dash can serve to see off a list:

"I went to the mall with my friends -- Jim, Joe, and Jerry -- and bought a new pair of pants." Here, my friends names are "Jim, Joe, and Jerry." Often, people use commas here. The issue with commas is that it would be slightly ambiguous:

"I went to the mall with my friends, Jim, Joe, and Jerry, and bought a new pair of pants." Here, it's not clear whether Jim, Joe, and Jerry ARE the friends or if they went to the mall WITH me and my friends.

2. The dash can serve to set off a parenthetical:

"My high school football team -- who hasn't won a game in 40 years -- just beat the best school in the state." Here, the dash serves the same purposes as parentheses. You really don't use parentheses on formal occasions such as GMAT test day.

Hope that helps!

Brett
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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2010, 19:39
BKimball wrote:
Raths,

Although the dash is pretty rare on the GMAT, it certainly does show up and is therefore worth discussing. Most often, the dash can take the place of a comma under a few specific scenarios:

1. The dash can serve to see off a list:

"I went to the mall with my friends -- Jim, Joe, and Jerry -- and bought a new pair of pants." Here, my friends names are "Jim, Joe, and Jerry." Often, people use commas here. The issue with commas is that it would be slightly ambiguous:

"I went to the mall with my friends, Jim, Joe, and Jerry, and bought a new pair of pants." Here, it's not clear whether Jim, Joe, and Jerry ARE the friends or if they went to the mall WITH me and my friends.

2. The dash can serve to set off a parenthetical:

"My high school football team -- who hasn't won a game in 40 years -- just beat the best school in the state." Here, the dash serves the same purposes as parentheses. You really don't use parentheses on formal occasions such as GMAT test day.

Hope that helps!

Brett

Brett, my question concerns the example that you've used - "My high school football team -- who hasn't won a game in 40 years -- just beat the best school in the state." Can you use 'who' to refer to the football team? Shouldn't 'which / that' be used?

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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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18 Nov 2010, 19:41
oh...i nearly forgot. Can you use 'whose' to refer to non person things?

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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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21 Nov 2010, 10:51
Great catch! That's what I get for copying and pasting!

Yes, you would want to use "which" here. There is some debate about where you can use "whose" to refer to an inanimate object, but certainly we should have used "which" here.

You can only use "that" if there is no comma before it, because "that" indicates a restrictive clause. For example:

I don't like the dog that lives next door. --> Correct. Which dog don't you like? The one that lives next door.

I don't like the dog, that lives next door. --> Incorrect.

Thanks for pointing that out!

Brett
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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2015, 07:20
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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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21 Oct 2016, 08:09
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.

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Re: What is dash meant for..? [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2017, 19:17
BKimball wrote:
Raths,

Although the dash is pretty rare on the GMAT, it certainly does show up and is therefore worth discussing. Most often, the dash can take the place of a comma under a few specific scenarios:

1. The dash can serve to see off a list:

"I went to the mall with my friends -- Jim, Joe, and Jerry -- and bought a new pair of pants." Here, my friends names are "Jim, Joe, and Jerry." Often, people use commas here. The issue with commas is that it would be slightly ambiguous:

"I went to the mall with my friends, Jim, Joe, and Jerry, and bought a new pair of pants." Here, it's not clear whether Jim, Joe, and Jerry ARE the friends or if they went to the mall WITH me and my friends.

2. The dash can serve to set off a parenthetical:

"My high school football team -- who hasn't won a game in 40 years -- just beat the best school in the state." Here, the dash serves the same purposes as parentheses. You really don't use parentheses on formal occasions such as GMAT test day.

Hope that helps!

Brett

you said dash is pretty rare in actual gmat.
i got 2 consecutive dash sc's on real gmat and that too ques #1 and #2.
completely freaked out.
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Re: What is dash meant for..?   [#permalink] 12 Aug 2017, 19:17
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# What is dash meant for..?

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