The dash is a family of punctuation marks which are not part of a word, but resemble long hyphens in appearance.

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Slashes for hyphens in compound modifiers

Take the phrase "a joint FBI-SFPD task force" for example. According to my boss, a slash can stand in for the hyphen. I tend to disagree. Is this grammatically correct? Stylistically acceptable?
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42 views

Correct use of endash in range of minutes

I am currently working as a web developer, and will occasionally be asked to update a website. A "client" just send me an update containing this text: A 15-30-minute waiting-period is required ...
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53 views

Should I use comma or colon?

What punctuation is preferable in the sentence below? Complex sentences have two clauses, one main (or independent) and one subordinate (or dependent). Complex sentences have two clauses: ...
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1answer
862 views

What's the difference between - and — in a phrase? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? When do I put a - in a sentence? Is it a more powerful comma? With a bigger pause?
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200 views

Numerical Range with En Dashes & Hyphens (a $3–$5-million-a-year business). Is this punctuated acceptably? [duplicate]

Is this acceptably punctuated? En dashes used between the numbers, and hyphens in the compound modifiers. I believe the two examples below are clear and concise. Do you agree with the punctuation ...
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55 views

what's the difference between a hyphen, a dash and a minus sign?

hyphen(-), dash(—), minus(-) What do I use when? and does it really matter? And what's their origin, why did people think they needed another very similar sign?
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51 views

Verbal compounds such as come-to-be, come-to-know, come-to-X

Reading about intellectual history and the history of natural science, I have very often come across the expression to come-to-be as a synonym for to come into being, to start to exist, to originate, ...
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100 views

Are commas and dashes truly interchangeable?

My English teacher told me that "dashes and commas are interchangeable". For instance, "My friend, Alex, ran to the store." and, "My friend–Alex–ran to the store." are both grammatically ...
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4k views

em dash followed by a comma [duplicate]

I have three cars — blue, red, and green — , two motorcycles, and four bicycles. Is this a correct use of comma after an em-dash? It seems quite weird. How should I use an em-dash and ...
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26 views

On correct using of dash

Which one of the following is more appropriate? ...offers scope for the theoretical integration of teaching, learning, and development with the culturally new user-generated and mediated contexts. ...
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3k views

What's the double hyphen after greetings in emails?

I usually see just format in the emails I receive daily: Hello Dorian-- I'm calling you in regard with the something... Thanks, I see comma after the greetings too but I am not sure ...
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3k views

What is a correct punctuation for a sentence starting with “One more thing”?

In the following sentence what would be the correct punctuation One more thing don't tell anyone about our conversation. Should "One more thing" be separated by comma, dash or colon? Or perhaps ...
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40 views

Jack London's list —X, Y, and a Z and a J

On the sled, securely lashed, was a long and narrow oblong box. There were other things on the sled—blankets, an axe, and a coffee-pot and frying-pan; but prominent, occupying most of the ...
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53 views

Is this use of the dash correct?

"But--" Boris tapped his pocket-- "your hotel." Is this use of dashes correct? Donna Tart uses this construction all the time. The speaker is interrupted with a dash, then the narrator is interrupted ...
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58 views

M-dash and emphasize

I love to emphasize. Here I'm emphasizing "determination." Is it the right way to do it? "If one word can sum up his career, it is determination—determination to fight back and do the impossible."
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5k views

When to choose em dash over parenthesis for parenthetical phrases?

According to Wikipedia: The em dash, m dash, m-rule, or "mutton" (—) often demarcates a break of thought or some similar interpolation stronger than the interpolation demarcated by parentheses ...
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125 views

Punctuating a sentence containing em dashes within commas [duplicate]

I always find myself writing sentences that contain clauses within clauses, and I can never decide what the right way to punctuate this is. I'm not specifying what kinds of clauses because they could ...
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92 views

Should I use … or —?

I came across this recently and curious as to which is correct. Here are a couple example sentences: I wish you would…oh, never mind. OR I wish you would—oh, never mind. In the above ...
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90 views

What is the correct hyphenation of “human skin tissue emulating gel”?

A type of gel designed to emulate human skin tissue. So, is this a "human skin tissue–emulating gel" (en dash)? Or, is it a "human-skin-tissue-emulating gel" (all hyphens)? Does anyone know the ...
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0answers
62 views

What are the rules for using dashes in headings? [closed]

Are there any hard and fast rules for using dashes in headings? In the technical documents I'm currently in charge of editing, we use em dashes to separate a smaller, more specified portion of a ...
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1answer
148 views

Why multiple length dashes (em, en, hyphen)? [duplicate]

I'm wondering why there are three different sizes (perhaps more?) for lines that separate characters? I understand the grammatical usage (or rather, I could look it up), but the benefit to readers is ...
158
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1answer
193k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
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“Rights are X— X is Y — X is Z—Z is V". Instead of Rights are X; X is Y; X is Z;Z is V

I understand the em dash to be more dramatic and intense than a semi-colon. I'm checking on whether the decision to use the em dash here is also purely stylistic. “Rights” are a moral concept—the ...
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1answer
114 views

Should I used a dash for “often-used” and “well-documented”?

Not sure what this is called, but I have seen the following phrases with and without dashes: The doctor performed a well-documented procedure. Or: He took an often-used road to the farm. ...
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311 views

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)?

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)? Example from BBC News: Venezuela - a major oil producer - has been heavily affected by the fall in oil prices on ...
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65 views

punctuating more than one sentence within em dashes and parentheses midsentence

I cannot recast the following sentence. Is it punctuated correctly, i.e., the ending period, midsentence, before the second em dash? The department's philosophy -- When in doubt, let them out. ...
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Em dash vs semicolon: which is more appropriate in the following examples?

I am very confused by these, and even when I understand other people's usage of them I find it difficult to know when to employ them myself. For this reason, I am trying to make my own examples and ...
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114 views

punctuation if dash introduces question-sentences

He worried--why X; what will happen if Y? It seems that this construction expresses the idea best, but it creates a few punctuation questions. Should the first semicolon be question-mark? Is there ...
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2answers
595 views

space before/after emdash or not? [duplicate]

I have seen style manuals suggest that there be no space between emdash and the surrounding words. The following NY times article has spaces in the first sentence: "An expression of concern by ...
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24k views

Appropriate dash to use when attributing a quotation?

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. . . .           ...
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140 views

What does the dash (“—”) in this sentence do? [duplicate]

Does "–" between methods and documenting have any function in this sentence? What is it trying to say? Moreover, multi-lingual texts, like vernacular works, have traditionally had strong ...
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2answers
42 views

pre-customer inquiry/ post-customer inquiry

I'm translating titles of paragraphs from Japanese to English. A pragmatic translation of the titles can be: "Before Receiving Inquiries from Potential Customers" and "After Receiving Inquiries from ...
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114 views

Should I use comma, or dashes, or braces here?

Should I enclose 'red and blue' inside comma, or dashes, or braces? He spent several days wandering and collecting flowers (red and blue), and analyzed the results to prove his point. OR ...
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89 views

Third-party or third party? [duplicate]

Does British English use a dash in between third-party, or is that for American English?
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88 views

“Problem: solved.” or “Problem, solved.” or “Problem—solved.”

How should one correctly achieve the flow of this short sentence through the use of punctuation? Problem. Solved. In my specific example, I'm writing about how to restore creativity lost to the ...
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127 views

How to know when to use dashes or commas or braces when describing something in the middle of a sentence?

For example, you have a sentence like this: But let’s pluck a word at random from the vocabulary tree: lambaste. Let’s say whenever you encounter this word, the first four letters, l-a-m-b, ...
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120 views

Comma vs. em-dash

When is it appropriate to use em dashes instead of commas? I have tried commas in this sentence, but it seems too disjointed: I'm going to be here at Zep, just up the road from KO near Howell ...
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112 views

In June–July 1967? Between June–July 1967?

Which is correct and which is not? In June--July 1967, there were... Between June--July 1967, there were... Between June and July 1967, there were... If I want to use "June--July 1967", how can I ...
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113 views

Is the usage of this semicolon correct? Should I replace it with a colon or dash?

I am getting ready to have my first tattoo and, as a fairly strict grammarian, I want to make sure that I get it right. I plan for the tattoo to look like the following, but I'm not totally sure about ...
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716 views

Pronunciation of “-” sign, particularly in Unix commands

While talking about commands for command-line interface, I sometimes need to pronounce how command should be typed, like this one: nc -l -p 1234 I used to pronounce - sign in this context as a ...
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52 views

Punctuation between clauses when the first clause is a series

I have this sentence: Even if I seem too busy, or you made a mistake, or someone we care about will be upset, or you feel embarrassed, if anything bothers you, I want to know. I believe that ...
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8k views

Parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes to provide additional detail

When do you use commas and when do you use parentheses to provide more detail about something? For example: The suspect, Tom Wilson, is now being charged with murder. The suspect (Tom Wilson) is ...
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37 views

Is this list punctuated correctly?

I am in the process of writing my CV/Resume and want to list my skills with a brief explanation of how I learnt them. So far I have been using: Marketing Experience - Gained from owning a small ...
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106 views

Punctuate a clause-example-clause-example in a sentence

I'm proofreading a colleagues work, and ran across a sentence which contains two examples with clarifications. I do not believe this should be broken out into two sentences. The original (nouns ...
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1answer
191 views

Can em dashes be used to isolate clauses starting with an “or”?

Here’s a simplified version of the sentence I'm working on. Despite what he believed — or thought he believed — he still had to contend with the truth. Or should I use commas?
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348 views

En dash with compound adjectives (problem)

I frequently encounter cases, such as the ones below, where you seemingly have two hyphenated compound adjectives modifying a noun. I know that in such cases that you should join the compound ...
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178 views

Use of the en dash instead of the hyphen in compound adjectives

I have the following taken from a paper that I am editing: … proposed a water-filling factor aided search method to solve … My question is related to whether I should use an en dash to connect ...
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212 views

Is there a dash between “n-second” [duplicate]

Take the example "one-second interval". Is there a dash between "one" and "second"? Also, should second be plural if I say "three-second/s interval"?
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2k views

Function of Dashes in a Sentence

Today any accessible, fast-moving story written in unaffected prose is deemed to be "genre fiction"—at best an excellent "read" or a "page turner," but never literature with a capital L. I cant ...
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1k views

Can a dash work after a question mark?

Can a dash work after a question mark? Meaning is this sentence correct and if not how would you rewrite it? I am wondering if you know any publications, blogs or websites who are seeking new ...