one-not parent

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AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
Could you please help me out with a difficulty in the novel by Dennis
Lehane 'Gone, Baby, Gone'?


No one-not parents, friends, law enforcement, childcare organizations, or centers for missing people − knows where these children go.

I guess one-not parent of a child is his/her parent who does not live with the child after divorce. Is it really so?
 
  • Kryptonite1303

    Senior Member
    India - Tamil & English
    I think you mis-read the sentence. It should be read as

    No one - (not parents, friends, law enforcement, childcare organizations, or centers for missing people) − knows where these children go.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The dashes separate out an inserted list of people who don't know where these children go.

    No one [...] knows where these children go.

    No one -- not parents, friends, law enforcement, childcare organizations, or centers for missing people − knows where these children go.
     
    Last edited:

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If you look at "missing people − knows where" you will observe that there are spaces surrounding the dash. There should have been similar spaces around the one in "No one-not parents", ​which would have made things a lot clearer.
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    it should have been a dash
    It's a rather subtle difference – the dash is used to separate words while the hyphen is used to unite joined-up words; both are produced by the same key on the keyboard and it's only the spaces that provide the distinction.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It's a rather subtle difference – the dash is used to separate words while the hyphen is used to unite joined-up words; both are produced by the same key on the keyboard and it's only the spaces that provide the distinction.
    Actually, the usual convention in typing is to use two hyphens in a row [--] to represent an em dash. On the computer, it can be done with one of the "Alt Code" shortcuts: Holding down the Alt key with the left hand while typing 0151 on the numeric keypad—thus. Simulating printing, no letterspace is left at the sides of the dash.

    You'll note that the second intended dash in Alexander's original message is a dash, not a hyphen.
     

    modulus

    Senior Member
    ইংরেজি - আমেরিক
    I use a different convention when typing---three hyphens for an em dash and two for an en dash. (e.g. 1951--2051).
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Actually '-' istead of ' − ' was a result of conversion of rtf-file into Word-file. I have a paper copy of the book but as it's more comfortable to work with the electronic one I rarely leaf over the paper pages.

    As you are sharing the ways to get ' − ', in Microsoft Office Word there is a much easier way (through macros) than Parla suggests. Having once gone through the procedure

    Service/Macros/Start Record/keys/(for example) Ctrl and '-' (press simultaniously)/assign/close/ Blank, – (from menu Insert/symbol), Blank/stop record

    ...to get ' − ' you only have to press Ctrl and '-' simultaniously. I'm afraid it's not clear enough. If so I will be happy to explain in detail in private message.
     
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