A word like ‘indistinguishable’

Yôn

Senior Member
English
Hello folks,

I am working on a draft of a paper, and want to say the following:

Em-dash over usage can cause the main sentence and the parts set off by the dashes to become [such that it is hard to know at times whether you are reading the main sentence, or the parts within the dashes].

I tried [indistinguishable], but it's just not exactly what I'm looking for, unless it is, in which case oops :eek:. I paged through a thesaurus, but it hasn't given me exactly what I'm looking for either. I'd prefer a word that has four syllables or fewer--which is part of the reason I don't like [indistinguishable] here.

If anyone knows of any words that could fill this purpose, I would be most glad to hear them.

Thank you so much,
Jon
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Yôn,

    Do you want a word which means something close to indistinguishable? You have give us a preferred syllable count, but little clue as to the meaning you want.

    I would suggest you hyphenate over-usage—the lack of a hyphen may create ambiguity—and that you tell us more precisely what meaning you wish to convey.

    For those not familiar with typographers' terms, am em-dash is the long one I used in the sentence above.
    This is an en-dash: – and this is an em-dash: —.



    -

    Above are—top to bottom—an em-dash, an en-dash, and a dash.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hello from Minneapolis Yon. I want to be sure that your question is whether there is a word that would express what I've copied in italics?

    such that it is hard to know at times whether you are reading the main sentence, or the parts within the dashes].
     

    Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    Thank you, Harry. :)

    Yes, the italicized part you copied is what I am trying to find a word for. In a very long sentence, this is what I am trying to say with my phrase:

    When you put in too many em-dashes, it can sometimes get the reader lost. I'm sure we've read something with too many em-dashes where we get part way through the sentence and we think, ‘am I reading the main sentence, or is this another part that was offset by em-dashes?’ Then, we must go back and count how many em-dashes we've seen in the sentence in order to figure out whether we are inside of an em-dash ‘clause’ or outside of it reading the rest of the sentence. This inability to keep track of whether we are reading the main sentence or the em-dashed part of the sentence because there are too many em-dashes is what I am trying convey with the word I need.

    I hope that clears things up, and I hope things are going swell down there for you :).


    Thanks,
    Jon
     

    Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    Hello Yôn,

    ...

    I would suggest you hyphenate over-usage—the lack of a hyphen may create ambiguity—and that you tell us more precisely what meaning you wish to convey.


    Thank you, cuchuflete, for the suggestion. Also, thank you for clarifying what an em-dash, en-dash, and dash/hyphen are for those who might not know.

    Jon
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yon, since you sound discontened with dashes a figurative expression might convey your thoughts, eg., "to become a quagmire of thought."
     

    Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    Yon, since you sound discontened with dashes a figurative expression might convey your thoughts, eg., "to become a quagmire of thought."

    Actually, I love em-dashes. The draft of the paper is meant to be an analysis of my own writing. I will look into phrases, but would prefer not to use figurative expressions... especially when I don't even understand them :eek:.


    Thanks much,
    Jon :)
     
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