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If I’m citing a poem or quotation, what kind of dash precedes the author’s name? Example:

This Business of Printing; which I am heartily tired of, and repent I e’er attempted. . . . 

                                                                                                                                     —John Baskerville

Should this be an em dash, an en dash, or something else?

And should there be a space between the dash and the author’s name?

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possible duplicate of When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? –  FumbleFingers Feb 26 '12 at 21:13

6 Answers 6

Given these choices:

U+2010 ‭ ‐  HYPHEN
U+2011 ‭ ‑  NON-BREAKING HYPHEN
U+2012 ‭ ‒  FIGURE DASH
U+2013 ‭ –  EN DASH
U+2014 ‭ —  EM DASH
U+2015 ‭ ―  HORIZONTAL BAR
U+2212 ‭ −  MINUS SIGN
U+2E17 ‭ ⸗  DOUBLE OBLIQUE HYPHEN

The right answer is actually U+2015, whose alternate name is indeed “quotation dash”. Failing that, you are supposed to use U+2014. This is very common in Romance languages, BTW, using a quotation dash for speech quotes.

Note that even Bringhurst, who isn’t a fan of the long em dash, rightly says to use two of them for bibliographical entries. The recently released Unicode 6.1 has given us two more dashes to help with this:

U+2E3A ‭ ⸺  TWO-EM DASH
U+2E3B ‭ ⸻  THREE-EM DASH
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In following wikipedia entry it has been explained that "quotation dash" is used instead of "quotation mark" before the quotation, but there is nothing about "quotation attribution": en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  JohnS Jul 4 '12 at 19:43
    
Thanks for these! –  Epitorial Feb 5 '13 at 15:37

I assume the style to which you are adhering, if any, does not prescribe a specific type of dash, and therefore this is a matter of personal preference and aesthetics. I would definitely not use an en-dash; I reserve en-dashes strictly for (usually numerical) ranges. Therefore, I would prefer to use an em-dash. I personally never put spaces around em-dashes—e.g., when using them to enclose a parenthetical phrase—so I would suggest not using a space.

You might get some more answers by cross-posting this question to http://tex.stackexchange.com/ (a StackExchange site dedicated to typesetting).

Edit: I am dismayed to report that it appears as if StackExchange uses an en-dash in comment signatures. This is a grievous error! We should all file bug reports! ;-)

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Nice answer. Personally I differ in my use of spaces, but if there isn't a style guide specifying otherwise that's just a matter of taste. –  user1579 Jun 7 '11 at 12:51
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The spaces are a matter of taste. The reason why I don't use spaces is that many word processors and typesetting languages will often allow a line break between a word and a subsequent dash if there is a space in between, which I don't like. As long as one is consistent in the spacing throughout the document, though, it doesn't really matter. –  ESultanik Jun 7 '11 at 14:07

I have been searching for the same as the OP. More searching has revealed this in the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (I have not read the whole of it, so I might be misinterpreting it):

16.17. Signatures, preceded by an em dash, are sometimes run in with last line of text.

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I think the answer to this question comes down to your interpretation of the word "cite." Are you writing an academic paper that requires a certain style (APA, MLA, etc..) or are you just typing up a quotation you really like to put up on the wall? If the latter, it should be fine the way you have it posted here. I don't think there is a standard for personal use, it is just a stylistic choice really. Just do it the way that looks best to you. Otherwise, if its for an academic paper, just "google" the citation style and "poem" and you will get a plethora of info on how to do that.

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Please use a dash longer than the normal hyphen to distiguish it from the hyphen between word parts (like in "stand-up") and certainly add a space between dash and name for readability.

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i'm new here - and just curious why somebody voted my answer down... –  halloleo Jun 7 '11 at 3:20
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I'm not the one who down-voted you, so I can't tell you why it happened, however, it may be because the question is asking which of the longer-than-the-normal-hyphen dashes should be used (e.g., en-dash vs. em-dash), not just whether they should be used. –  ESultanik Jun 7 '11 at 12:42
    
thx ESultanik. makes (sort of) sense. –  halloleo Jun 9 '11 at 2:49
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All dashes are longer than a hyphen. –  tchrist Oct 1 '13 at 20:45

One en-dash.

A hyphen is wrong. An em-dash would definitely be wrong. Two en-dashes are never right in any circumstance, though two hyphens can be used to indicate an em-dash when the font does not support extended characters or is monospaced (or you don't know how to produce such a character).

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protected by tchrist Jul 1 at 1:07

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