Google Docs fixes an issue in the world by automatically fixing your em dashes in the latest update
I have had a great need to use em hyphens over the past few months for some larger documents that I collaborate on with others, and unfortunately I never learned how to use them properly. Instead, I’ve always used hyphens both because I didn’t know any better, and because I’m too lazy to use the unicode em dash hotkey. Oh, and every time I’ve tried using it on my Chromebook it just doesn’t work. Instead, I had to constantly rely on the character map in Google Docs to insert one (something for which there is no keyboard shortcut) and then relied on copying it. – paste to place it in other places.
It seems Google has realized how annoying it is for everyone that me and others do, so they recently announced that they are doing us a favor and automatically correcting dashes in Google Docs! For those who are as oblivious as I was just a few months ago, an em dash may look like a hyphen, but it’s meant to act more like a comma or a set or parenthesis compensating for additional information. as examples or explanations to support a sentence. You can think of it as a way to add a separate but supporting clause in the middle of a sentence that reinforces it without completely interrupting it like a period would.
The new update will detect hyphens and automatically convert them to em dashes if grammar and sentence structure require it. I’m excited about this because it means I’ll be smarter than I actually am with my understanding of where and how to place them correctly. Google announced the change in a funny tweet where comedian Alexis Gay talked about those who misuse the dash em or use the “dash in” – a punctuation mark meant for dates that “Some people just want to watch the world burn. “.
As 9to5Google points out, you can actually automatically convert two dashes to an em by visiting the “Preferences” section of Docs and going to “Substations” – something I never knew! Do you use the dash em in your work alone or in collaboration? If so, are you using it incorrectly? it’s okay, i won’t judge you because i can’t do it! This is a safe space, so let’s discuss our sad use of punctuation below.