What is the best way to punctuate a range of hyphenated numbers, e.g., sections 12-3 through 12-7?

EDIT: Just to reply to those who marked this as a duplicate, I really fail to see how the post that this question purportedly duplicates is responsive my question. I'm not expressing a misunderstanding of en-dashes and hyphens, but rather asking a question about preferred usage. In fact, the top answer (which I think is correct) suggests not using a dash or a hyphen at all.

  • I would change up the original punctuation for added concision without sacrificing clarity, if possible (e.g. "Sections 12.3 - 12.7"). If this isn't an option, then your original "through" certainly seems to work in place of a dash. (added as a comment because this is more of a quick suggestion than an answer)
    – userNaN
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 18:20

2 Answers 2


Your example is the best way, and very clear in its meaning.

What I mean is that substituing some symbol for the word "through" is not necessarily a good way to do it. You could, I suppose, write "section 12-3 — -7" but hyphens and dashes look rather awkward together.

You could abbreiate "through" to "thru" is this isn't for some formal paper or article. Or maybe it would be fine in any case.


I would have preferred to say Sections 12.3-12.7, i.e., use stops for denoting subsections. If you still want to use dashes for subsections, then I would rather say Sections 12-3 to 12-7.

  • Unfortunately, there are times when the hyphenated section number is required. I agree though: those who number the sections in the first place should use periods instead of hyphens.
    – todorojo
    Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 17:06

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