A couple of quotes to whet your appetite
The dash has an obvious appeal for those who relish a backhand sweep – and to hell with the words that precede or follow it.
The elegance of the en or em dash is best understood when working with metal type, with which we used to print books. Measure the sharp-edged dash up against the letter “n" or “m". The space the dash occupies is the exact width of the letter. “Letters are signs for sounds," wrote typeface designer Eric Gill; the dash fills the silent space where a sound would otherwise be.On the exclamation mark.
In French it is much less forceful, so the translator of, say, Madame Bovary will have to prune up to 30 per cent of Flaubert’s exclamation marks. When Emma Bovary and Rodolphe are romantically moon-gazing, and Rodolphe enthuses, “Ah! la belle nuit!", one if not both of those marks would have to go.