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Mustang Minute. What are your defining values? Why are they important to you? How do you try or hope to apply them in your life? How can these help you be successful in the future?

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Mustang minute
Mustang Minute

  • What are your defining values? Why are they important to you? How do you try or hope to apply them in your life? How can these help you be successful in the future?

    **Personal values are the beliefs, qualities, and philosophies that we hold about life, its purpose, and our own purpose.

Parentheses vs commas vs dashes
Parentheses vs. Commas vs. Dashes

  • Parentheses are the quiet whisper of an aside.

  • Commas are the conversational voice of a friend walking by your desk.

  • Dashes are the yowl of a pirate dashing into a fray. 


  • Used to surround something that seems a bit out of place in a sentence– an aside, clarification, a commentary.

  • Example

    • The thirtieth anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens (May 18, 1980) brought back vivid memories of ash and darkness.

    • I’m heading out (movie night!), but I’ll call you in the morning.


  • If you want to hang a spotlight on your words decorate them with dashes.

  • You can use dashes the same way we just talked about using parentheses, to enclose fragments or whole sentences, but you’d better be sure your words are worthy of dashes.

  • Dashes interrupt your sentences the way commas or parentheses don’t.

  • Example:

    • They fled through the woods, and then George – dear, sweet George the accountant – jumped out from behind a tree and stabbed them.

    • There was only one thing missing from the pirate ship – pirates.


  • They’re kind of dull. You should always consider using them because punctuation shouldn’t draw attention to itself.

  • Commas don’t interrupt your sentence, so you use them when the words your enclosing are a natural part of your sentence and not some comment from left-field or a flamboyant statement.

  • Example:

    • My younger sister, Megan, will be visiting soon.

    • Diamonds, which are expensive, aren’t something I buy very often.

In summary
In Summary

  • As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, you could make a legitimate argument for using at least two different punctuation marks in nearly every example sentence but these general rules may be helpful:

    • Use parentheses when you want to enclose something that is incidental to the sentence, something that is background or almost unnecessary.

    • Use dashes when you want to enclose or set-off something that deserves a lot of attention, is meant to interrupt your sentence, or already has commas or parentheses in it.

    • Use commas to enclose things that belong firmly in the flow of your sentence.