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[Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and pauses,
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a punctuation mark in the form of a straight horizontal line (—). In the European writing systems, it has a space at either side.
In Russian punctuation, the dash indicates a pause between words or parts of a sentence. It is also used to emphasize intonations in written dialogue that are caused by the emotionality of utterances, and is used between a subject and predicate to replace a copula. In addition, the dash separates direct speech and introductory words from the rest of the sentence and separates coordinating conjunctions to emphasize contrast. The dash must be distinguished from the hyphen.