Is Hyphen correct in the following sentence? If yes, would you explain a little why? Is the phrase adverbial? Does So mean "Too" in here?

Our humanness must be sustained through social interaction - and fairly constantly so.


That should not be a hyphen (-) but an em dash (—).

The dash here marks what follows it as what The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls a supplement: a remark or expansion which is added to the main clause, not an integral part of it.

In this case so plays the role of a pro-form: it may stand for an adjectival, adverbial or verbal entity in the same way that a pronoun stands for a nominal entity.

The specific entity which so stands for here is be sustained through social interaction.

Consequently, the information which the supplement adds is that our humanness must not merely be sustained through social interaction, it must be fairly constantly sustained through social interaction.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    As a footnnote, given that many standard keyboards do not have a dash, sometime two consecutive hyphens are used -- as I just inserted into this sentence. (The two hyphens function as a single dash.) – J.R. Feb 21 '16 at 1:25
  • "The specific entity so stands for here is be sustained through social interaction." - did you intend to prepend that with "What"? – Andrew Morton Aug 5 '16 at 17:02
  • @Andrew Actually, I thought of it as a noun phrase modified by a relative clause with a null-relativizer ... fixing. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 5 '16 at 18:43
  • I found it be understandable with a bit of mental squinting :) Your revision is much more readable. – Andrew Morton Aug 5 '16 at 19:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.