Two-left-thumbed candidates in a dash-happy riding

I’m an English teacher, and, yes, I care even about the littlest pixels that mark the end of sentences. It’s a sickness.

So when I came across Jasveen Rattan’s website, I felt a bit sick. It’s a disaster.  I think someone as well educated as Dr. Rattan should be able to string together a few paragraphs  without leaving out the spaces between words and capitalizing on a whim. And the bolding. Good god! Someone take away her <b> tag!

Rattan’s bio is a mess, but there are a few pixels of joy. She calls herself a “first-generation” immigrant. She used the hyphen correctly!

I get that this is weird, but there’s one punctuation mark I truly feel passionate about—the dash. Or, more accurately, the dashes, for there are three of them: the hyphen, the en dash, and the em-dash.

Dashes matter. Sure, they’re hard to use. They’re even hard to type. But they matter, because they’re the difference between your  “first-hand job experience” and something entirely different.

It pleases me that our little riding, York South–Weston, has a wacky dash. We have a middle-length dash, an en, and it goes between “South” and “Weston” because “York South” is one area, and “Weston” is another. It’s not hard, but using it correctly makes me feel superior every single time.


Ahmed Hussen completely screws it up, and he has no excuse. He really should know the name of his own riding, and he has staff to write for him. Calling us “YorkSouth Weston” is particularly egregious. It’s a hyphen (wrong) in the wrong place (double wrong).  On the same page, though, he gets it half right. Argh!

(Hussen also writes “As Your Member of Parliament, we are your neighbors, clients, and business partners.” I have no idea what that means, but I’ll note he spells “neighbours” like an American would. Rattan got that right, at least.)

Yafet Tewelde’s site is the best of a bad bunch. He uses hyphens correctly (“gas-fired”), and holds the bolds. Nice.

But even Tewelde drops the dash in York South—Weston. He’s only getting a B+ from me.


Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

2 thoughts on “Two-left-thumbed candidates in a dash-happy riding”

  1. Thank you! You’re sure to get hate-mail in this one but hold the standard high, as words and their punctuating associates make a difference. Love your first-hand example!

  2. The quotation link in “… your ‘first-hand job experience’ and …” links not only the quotation but also the empty space after the closing quotation mark. Very unsightly and just plain wrong.

Comments are closed.