One such “color” is the dash, represented in typeset with three hyphens. Many word processing programs will automatically join these lines together into a single line — the dash.
Did you see how I used the dash just now? Writers usually use the dash where another punctuation mark, usually a comma, is employed. The replacement of another suitable punctuation mark creates a special emphasis to the phrase set apart by dashes. When not replacing another punctuation mark, dashes usually indicate an abrupt side note in the main idea of the sentence.
Consider the example in the graphic above, which demonstrates an appropriate and effective use of the dash. Observe the effect imparted by the dash. In this example, the dashes could replace commas.
Note the use of spaces before and after the dash. Writers can use or not use these spaces according to their preference. Thus, it would be just as correct to write
Of course, overuse of the dash will blunt its edge for providing emphasis. Thus, experienced writers will use the dash sparingly. But do dash to use the dash when appropriate. It can provide some visual spice for your readers while emphasizing important side notes.