I was an English major. I was a Technical Writing minor. I took grammar classes and diagrammed sentences for fun.
And yet I’m still learning things every day.
For instance, did you know the difference between a hyphen and a dash? If you answered yes, did you know that there are four different kinds of hyphens/dashes regularly used in printed text? That’s right – five.
When someone first asked me about “em dashes,” I played along. “Yes. Sure. Of course I know what that is! I’ll make sure to double checks all of the…uh…m hyphens.”
I can laugh about it now, but that one conversation sent me on a frantic hour-long googling session. Here’s what I found out.
According to CSM, these are all the kinds of hyphens/dashes:
En dash —
Em dash —
And they all have specific purposes!
It suddenly occurred to me—Commas. Ellipses. Spaces. Numbers. Basic grammar. Did I know anything?
It turns out that CSM isn’t all that different from MLA, but I had to break a sweat discovering that. And it was…reassuring…to know that I’m not done learning. It feels like I just finished college yesterday. I don’t think I ever felt that “I’ve got the world on a string,” feeling as a post-graduate, but I’m sure many people have.
News flash! We never stop learning. If we do, then something is wrong.
Could I get through school with out knowing that? Yes.
Can I have this job without knowing that? Apparently not.
Do I now add proofreading marks and word comments to my personal writing? Yup. (It’s kinda scary and yet oddly satisfying to have a conversation with myself like I have with the Press’ authors.)
Will I still keep learning? You betcha!
Who’s with me?