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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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?
43
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7answers
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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 ...
42
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5answers
53k views

Should I use a semicolon or a dash to connect two closely related sentences?

When you want to connect two closely related sentences, you can use a semicolon or a dash. (You can also use a dash for other kinds of non-sentential relations). How would you choose whether to use a ...
19
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3answers
11k 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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

How is punctuation used after dashes?

I use em dashes frequently to break up random or ancillary thoughts in my writing. However, I'm uncertain how to deal with punctuation after an em dash when my sentence continues. For example, which ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Is Hyphen Really the Longer – line instead of the shorter dash - line?

I had a discussion with some people today on hyphen and dashes. They had concluded that hyphen, which is used to link two connecting words (book-bag) is the longer line – instead of the shorter line ...
11
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2answers
86k views

How to write “till now” in a résumé? [closed]

I am writing a résumé. I want to specify that I started my education in 2009 and as of now I am at the 4th grade (in other words, still learning), so how should I specify that in résumé: 2009 - ...
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1answer
3k views

Capitalization of words with dashes in titles

How would you capitalize a word in a book/article title when that word has an en dash in the middle of it? For instance, should "protein-protein interaction" be capitalized as "Protein-protein ...
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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 ...
7
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4answers
828 views

When and why did the em-dash and the hyphen supplant the semicolon?

It seems to me that semicolons are rarely used today in ordinary English writing - even in newspapers and books. They appear to have been replaced, in many cases, by em-dashes and hyphens (the hyphen ...
7
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2answers
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Understanding appositives and the use of the m-dash ( — )

My understanding of a dash is that it sets off a lengthy appositive, but can also be used to introduce a summary. Consider the following passage from Stephan Jay Gould: If evolution worked ...
6
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3answers
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Is it wrong to space en dashes and em dashes?

How I use en dashes and em dashes En dashes: Sybrand Engelbrecht (1814–2177): Unspaced en dash. January–December: Unspaced en dash. Sybrand loved three things – soccer, jazz, and living forever ...
6
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4answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
736 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— ...
6
votes
4answers
391 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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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 ...
6
votes
2answers
743 views

What is the difference between `-` and `--` [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? Is there any difference between: - and -- or in some cases, a long dash I have seen these two used lots of ...
5
votes
2answers
300 views

Semicolon followed by an em-dash

I recently read "The Cask of Amontillado" for pleasure, and I found this passage: He had a weak point –this Fortunato –although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He ...
5
votes
1answer
289 views

Is this dash correct?

I’m hoping someone can give me some feedback/advice on the dash below. The site also supports a mobile version that allows you to easily check whether a book is in your collection—a feature ...
5
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1answer
6k views

The usage of en dash between two complete dates

Is it necessary to put a space before and after the symbol en dash (–) put between two complete dates? Example: January 1, 2013 – January 1, 2014
5
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1answer
450 views

Confusion between colon and dash

For example, take a look at the following sentence: There’s nothing to see — no one can handle you, dear. What are the general guidelines?
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5answers
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Does “cost-benefit ratio” use a hyphen or an en-dash?

Should I write "cost-benefit" (hyphen) or "cost–benefit" (en dash), and why?
4
votes
4answers
964 views

How to write dashes in “a 2-4-room-apartment”?

I want to write in the announcement a description of an eventual apartment, which I am searching as a rental. I am interested in apartments with 2, 3, or 4 rooms. How should I write the compound ...
4
votes
1answer
969 views

Is there a classification for words combined with hyphens used as adjectives?

Is there a term or classification for words (non-adjectives, for lack of a better classifier) that are combined with hyphens that serve the purpose of an adjective? For example, "run-of-the-mill ...
4
votes
3answers
151 views

Punctuation of a dependent clause for strong emphasis

Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white? This is a black instead of a white pencil. This is a black, instead of a white, ...
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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 ...
4
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1answer
396 views

Should the first word after a dash used as self-interruption be capitalized?

When writing dialogue, a dash can be used to denote interruption. For example: “Hello, can I ask you about—” “No.” If a character is interrupting themself, should the first word of the ...
4
votes
1answer
531 views

May en-dashes be used in sports scores?

The accepted answer to the authoritative question When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? currently has this to say regarding the en-dash: An en-dash is use to connect values in a ...
3
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2answers
4k views

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?
3
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3answers
460 views

How does one correctly use a “-” outside of hyphenation - if at all?

When writing out emails I often find myself replacing semicolons with hyphens or dashes. For example, "Let's meet up at the pub - or would you rather go to a restaurant?" I feel this is wrong, but I ...
3
votes
4answers
207 views

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, ...
3
votes
2answers
946 views

Punctuation following an interruption with a dash

I am not sure what the correct punctuation to use when ending a clause that was introduced with a dash when the next character in the main sentence is a punctuation mark. Take the following contrived ...
3
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1answer
1k views

When to use -, – and —? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? This is about hyphens (-), en-dashes (–) and em-dashes (—). When to use which one? To be honest, I always use ...
3
votes
1answer
474 views

Approximating Fancy Punctuation

Is it ever okay (or acceptable in modern casual usage) to approximate an ellipse glyph '…' with three full-stops '...' or spaced full-stops '. . .'? The textbooks say you shouldn't, ...
3
votes
1answer
414 views

Doubly hyphenated words

Consider the word quasi-first-class. Are the hyphens used correctly? Should the two hyphens be of different length to denote the distinction of the hyphenation? Is there a general rule to deal with ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

'2-3' or 'two to three' proper use

In the following sentence is the use of '2-3' appropriate for a PowerPoint presentation or should it be 'two to three'? Research shows that a deaf child tends to produce signs 2-3 months earlier ...
3
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
234 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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4answers
1k views

Use of dash in a sentence

Is the dash an acceptable punctuation in this sentence? Dances, parties, luncheons -- all these should be part of your senior year.
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3answers
2k views

Is an ellipsis interchangeable with an em dash?

I know than an ellipsis can be used to show a broken sentence, the same way an em dash can be used. What I don't know is that if the two are interchangeable and it is writer preference or if different ...
2
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2answers
437 views

How should I parse a sentence that’s broken up with a dash?

What is the correct "parsing" of this sentence: Futuristic but not out of time — like an artifact from the 1960’s, someone trying to imagine what 2013 would be like. I came to two ...
2
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1answer
227 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?
2
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1answer
1k views

Using dashes vs. commas in business communications

Having settled into a new job in communications, I am faced with the issue of em dashes. Since I am quite partial to commas but my boss is more partial to em dashes, I can't help but wonder whether ...
2
votes
1answer
11k views

“40-50 years old” vs. “40-50 year olds” when referring to a group

In formal research, which is more correct, and why: the group of 40-50 years old OR the group of 40-50 year olds In any case the phrase in bold is to be treated as a noun only, as in: The ...
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
342 views

Parentheses vs. commas vs. hyphen or dash in a list of people

In a list of people published in a bulletin, which is correct? We continue in prayer for: Amy B.(cancer), T. Jones(nephew of Tim), Lillie (on the death of her brother), Sally(Nursing Home), ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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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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1answer
2k views

More dastardly dashes: what are the 'horizontal bar' and 'figure dash' characters for? [closed]

Having read another excellent answer regarding the use of horizontal line-like characters, I'm interested to know the meanings of the horizontal bar and figure dash. In the other answer linked above, ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Which dash should be used to indicate “None”, “No Answer”, or “Not Applicable”? [closed]

Consider the following overview of an individual's profile: Name: John Smith Age: 29 Marital status: Single Spouse's Name: - The dash given as "Spouse's Name" indicates that there is no ...