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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Em dash and quotes

While I toss up between the em dash and the en dash, I am consistent throughout one document. However, one thing I have noticed when using the em dash is that when I write something like: Firstly, ...
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2answers
112 views

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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/ and - (want to know correct usages of them, so that I can create a new concept)

I am creating a concept, which is about how mature people are as good citizens. In the context of a particular essay I am writing, I am emphasizing that citizens need to know both the political system ...
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26 views

Semicolon vs dash

I'm writing a book, and one of the sentences is as follows: "They are the same today, even though it’s been nearly three weeks since I left this place-three weeks since I left the place I called ...
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34 views

ACT English question regarding dashes

From what I know, dashes are used to separate non essential clauses that adds further description to an object. This question confuses me. The correct answer is J but why? If you replace it with J, ...
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7answers
36k 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? For example: This Business of Printing; which I am heartily tired of, and repent I e’er attempted....  —John ...
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2answers
54 views

Please Help Me Punctuate This Sentence Correctly [closed]

I'm particularly interested in getting the punctuation correct, and I'd like to keep it all in one sentence. Thanks! Here's the sentence: It allows you to test on multiple browsers, and clicking ...
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4answers
1k 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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1answer
27 views

Using comma to delimit the name of a group and its constituents?

You are probably familiar with this comic which illustrates the possible ambiguity caused by leaving out the Oxford comma: However, this strikes me as plain wrong. I thought comma would not be used ...
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3answers
711 views

Spaces and em-dash

In using the em-dash, where do you put the spaces? Which of the following is correct? School is based on the three R’s —reading, writing, and ’rithemtic. or School is based on the three R’s— ...
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1answer
57 views

Usage of of colon (:) and dash (─) [duplicate]

I often find use of colon (:) and dash (─) confusing. Let me explain this with the help of the following title appearing in an article: Moto ─ an excellent car Sometimes, I find colon (:) is ...
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24 views

Using em-dash instead of parentheses and commas [duplicate]

Let's say I have the following sentence: "I didn't like the cake (the cookies were better), but I absolutely hated the egg rolls." Would it be grammatically correct (and colloquially okay, to someone ...
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43 views

Interchangeability of “--” (dash) and “:” (colon)

Let me cite two examples, one using "--" (dash) and the other using ":" (colon): John has three sisters -- Sita, Mita and Rita. John has three sisters: Sita, Mita and Rita. Grammatically, ...
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2answers
347 views

dash to connect two thoughts

How can I use a dash to correctly connect two and thoughts in a sentence? Is the following sentence correct with the dash in from or should I remove it? An S database allows access from – and can ...
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2answers
2k 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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1answer
30 views

Mail-in form…or mail in form?

We use a "Mail-In Registration Form." Or, should we be using a "Mail In Registration Form," without the dash?
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1answer
39 views

“the 10-years evolution show…” or “the 10-year evolution shows…” [duplicate]

What is the correct sentence between these two forms: "the 10-years evolution show..." or "the 10-year evolution shows...". ? Both answers seem okay to me. Also, what about the dash ...
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1answer
67 views

Using Dashes with a Possessive

If you have a possessive proper noun but want to add extra detail by using dashes, how should it be written? Example: Penny - our neighbour - has blonde hair. Would any of these options be ...
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31 views

Dash or parentheses in bulleted list

I have the a bulleted list with one of the bullets having additional things listed within it: .....including: - Bulk purchase and distribution of essential coffee inputs to members - fertilizer, ...
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2answers
229 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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1answer
89 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
1k 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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1answer
356 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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1answer
267 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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1answer
89 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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2answers
167 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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1answer
7k 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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36 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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3answers
5k 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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4answers
4k 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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3answers
55 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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1answer
111 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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1answer
84 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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2answers
6k 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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1answer
222 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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1answer
154 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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2answers
117 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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1answer
249 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 ...
191
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1answer
248k 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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1answer
710 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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4answers
385 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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1answer
92 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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8answers
8k views

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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1answer
157 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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1answer
205 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
63 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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3answers
169 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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1answer
370 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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1answer
121 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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1answer
164 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, ...