In the text by A. Tolstoy, some dashes are used. For example, the story ends with "Мышка за кошку,/ Кошка за Жучку,/ ... / Дедка за репку / -– Тянут потянут -– и вытянули репку".

I think the second dash is used to draw attention to their unexpected success (contrary to their former unsuccessful tries). But I have no idea what the first dash is used for.

I hope someone could give an explanation.

  • 1
    Agree on the second dash. As for the first one, I guess it's there to detach the enumeration from the following action.
    – jwalker
    Oct 8, 2015 at 16:59
  • @jwalker: Thank you for your comment. But I still have little idea about the usage of the first dash. I do want to know, for example, which part of the dash usage explanations in "Справочник по правописанию и стилистике" by Д. Э. Розенталь can apply to the case of the first dash.
    – okazatsky
    Oct 9, 2015 at 6:01
  • You could say it's just emphatic (§ 81) because the subject, being a list, contains commas, and you need a stronger mark to set it off. Or it could be a separation of the list and it's [supposed] conclusion (§ 89): кошка за Жучку, дедка за репку – [вместе / друг за друга] тянут-потянут.
    – jwalker
    Oct 9, 2015 at 9:57
  • They're used for division and intonation purposes only, no big significance here :) Oct 9, 2015 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


I think both dashes are just intonational (интонационное тире).

They need to impart a rhythm to the text. When one read the sentence he makes little pauses on commas, and big pauses on dashes. It is a nursery tale and it have its own rhythm.

Rosenthal describes two cases of an intonational dashe usage (in §81), but an intonational dashe can be located in any place in sentence, where the author feel it is necessary.

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