Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon - it's a dash!
The information given tends to be informal and flavoured with humour, when a dash is the perfect piece of punctuation to use.
The only thing the butterflies did when Lucas arrived at his desk - besides giggling and turning a prettier shade of pink - was to stare at their books, and completely ignore him.
I could have used commas instead of dashes. This was a stylistic choice. William Strunk Jnr and E B White in "Elements of Style" point out that, unlike other punctuation marks, the dash doesn't have one specific usage. It is strictly an either or with commas, colons and parentheses where the dash offers more choice to the user and more understanding for the reader.
Lucas Orme's foul temper - according to his teacher, Master Wix - was going to get him plucked.
The other students bubbled with enthusiasm - generations of magical talent swirling their confidence - in the most special lessons the school offered.
I'm addicted to dashes - and humour - in my writing. Do you have a writing vice?