Three punctuation marks commonly used in transcripts that may be confusing are the dash, ellipsis points, and brackets.

A dash is used when a speaker changes or clarifies an idea in midsentence or when the first speaker is interrupted by a second speaker and the first speaker resumes the original idea.


     (a)  We’ll call Miss — Mrs. Jones to testify.

     (b)  Elizabeth came to my house Tuesday or Wednesday — yesterday was Thursday — Wednesday.

     (c)   Q.   Do you have the checks?
            A.   I have them in —
            Q.   Are they canceled?
            A.   — my safe deposit box.

A pair of dashes is used when a speaker suspends but does not cancel the idea in midsentence and then continues the idea.


      (d)  I always shop – this may sound strange – at my first husband’s store.

Reference:  Morson, Lillian.  (1997).  “Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters,” 2nd edition.

Come back next week to better understand ellipsis points!