comma or dash with nonrestrictive phrase: wealth — and security — in


Senior Member
Hi Friends!:)

This is a little complex.

This is an example using both em dash and comma. Please do let me know whether both forms are okay.

1) He tried to create a little wealthand a little securityin that situation.

2) He tried to create a little wealth, and a little security, in that situation. (the reason for comma is because I want a pause after wealth).

What I mean is: em dash creates a nice pause and THEN we add a little security right after that. Can we also use comma in its place to create a similar effect?

  • Yes, both are used. The dashes add a bit more distance. This may mean that 'and a little security' is an afterthought, something you weren't planning to say when you began. Or it may mean it's less essential, and could be completely omitted without loss of the main thought. Or it may just show a greater contrast.

    In pronunciation, I would make an actual pause when saying the dashed version.
    Both can be used, but to me the version with the commas looks a bit awkward. If you want a pause, with its implications as posted above, use the em dashes. If you don't, then don't use anything. The comma version is a middle ground that, to me, doesn't convey either meaning well.