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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1answer
65k 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?
35
votes
5answers
19k 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
12k 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. . . .           ...
17
votes
3answers
5k 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
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
632 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
518 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
784 views

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
votes
2answers
394 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
3k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
149 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
235 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
votes
2answers
30k 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 - ...
5
votes
1answer
385 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?
5
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
84 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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
4
votes
1answer
394 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
votes
5answers
945 views

Does “cost-benefit ratio” use a hyphen or an en-dash?

Should I write "cost-benefit" (hyphen) or "cost–benefit" (en dash), and why?
3
votes
2answers
3k 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
votes
3answers
370 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
2answers
571 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
votes
1answer
209 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
575 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
4k 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
119 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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
votes
4answers
572 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
305 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
votes
4answers
931 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.
2
votes
1answer
110 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
votes
1answer
4k 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
1answer
659 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
385 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
263 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), ...
2
votes
3answers
164 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
758 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
votes
3answers
372 views

Is “non-freedom” correct?

I need to write something like Students were silenced because of social media posts: a case of non-freedom. That isn't the exact context, but I need to know if non-freedom is correct.
2
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
76 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
174 views

Is it proper to use dashes to set of parenthetical phrases in a comma-separated list?

I'm in need of a complex sentence that lists out three requirements, and the facts that satisfy those requirements. Here's an example of what I'm referring to, using the "motivation, means, and ...
2
votes
1answer
929 views

Are em dashes acceptable in lists?

I often see lists written as follows (using em dashes to elaborate a list item): Item 1—explanation for item 1 Item 2—explanation for item 2 Is this generally correct, or are colons preferable?
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vote
2answers
114 views

Place interrogation mark within question with “dashed”-comment

I'm trying to figure out where should I place an iterrogation mark in the sentence below. First, what I want to say: Does X mean X, or does it mean Y? As we talked before about X meaning Y. And ...
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vote
2answers
187 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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vote
2answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
819 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 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 ...