Easy on the Dashes

A sentence should contain no more than one parenthetical phrase set off by dashes. Try reading a sentence with two such phrases. Do you get as lost trying to track the original thought as I do?

HUH? The spicy pizza—loaded with chili peppers and hot sauce—brought such tears to my eyes—not to mention pain to my tongue—that I couldn’t enjoy my meal.

By the time I get to enjoy my meal, my eye has jumped through so many dashes that I have to go back to the beginning to remember what the writer was talking about.

SIMPLER: The spicy pizza, loaded with chili peppers and hot sauce, brought such tears to my eyes—not to mention pain to my tongue—that I couldn’t enjoy my meal.

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