Viruses<—not bacteria—>cause most childhood pneumonia

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
If "Viruses—not bacteria—cause most childhood pneumonia" were written as "Viruses, not bacteria, cause most childhood pneumonia", what is the nuance?

I am really curious about it

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Viruses—not bacteria—cause most childhood pneumonia

Pneumonia kills nearly 1 million children every year, but the lung infection’s precise cause is often hard to diagnose, forcing doctors to rely on antibiotics without knowing whether bacteria are to blame. Now, a new study reveals that most childhood pneumonia—some 60% of global cases—is caused by viruses.

Source: Science By Alex FoxJun. 27, 2019
Viruses—not bacteria—cause most childhood pneumonia
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If you are asking about the punctuation, I think there's no difference between the use of commas and that of dashes. I say it's style, and Americans seem to use dashes more. Let's see if I'm wrong!
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    My feeling is that a dash indicates a somewhat longer pause than a comma.

    "Viruses, not bacteria, cause most childhood pneumonia" -> to provide a contrast.
    "Viruses - not bacteria - cause most childhood pneumonia" -> to contradict an earlier statement.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I wonder why people use dashes at all. I don't remember ever using them while learning English composition in school.
     
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