1. I would like to know – there is a grammatical term for the function of the dash in this sentence, is that right?

English doesn’t have a word like that or whether that can replace the dash in that sentence, but is there any fundamental reason why it couldn't have?

  1. Does the dash in:

You don’t have to do that – it’s fine

Have the same function as the one in the first sentence? (I feel that in the first case it could be replaced with a colon, but in the second case it would be a semicolon.)

  1. Is there a term to describe the difference between:

I would like to know whether there is a grammatical term for this (where the question is embedded), and

I would like to know – is there a grammatical term for this? (where the question is stated directly).

  1. Can the function of whether in the first sentence of Q3 be broken down the function of the dash in the second question plus another function or restriction?
  • I have lately taken to say I mean* a lot. I mean, that could replace the dash, as much as "well", except in the first example, which should maybe have a colon instead (the way you used to format 2. yourself?). But I'm affraid discourse particle is not the answer you are looking for.
    – vectory
    Jan 26, 2020 at 10:22
  • Yes - I originally put a colon but wanted to get across that there was some similarity with 2, so went with the dash as I find it acceptable in both cases. I can see how I mean could also work as a linker here, but what I really want is not so much examples of other possible linkers as an explanation of what kind of syntactic link there is. The first example is from Thai where a word that would generally be translated as that performed the function of the dash.
    – JD2000
    Jan 26, 2020 at 10:52
  • I was just trying to find how these discourse particles are labeled, if it would answer your question at the same time. But seems that it depends
    – vectory
    Jan 26, 2020 at 11:16
  • I'm not sure the function has to be encoded by a discourse particle though - in English, if we are going to verbalise anything in that position it does have to be some kind of discourse particle or signpost, because there is no available complementiser - but what I'm wondering why that should be the case.
    – JD2000
    Jan 26, 2020 at 12:23


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