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 range or that are related. Saying "in years 1939–1945" or "New York beat Los Angeles 98–95" are both examples where an en-dash should be used (as I did explicitly in the examples). A good rule of from here is when you're expressing a "to" relationship.

The portion that I have bolded above is not a usage I had seen before. I was under the impression that the en-dash should only be used in the case of a range. In the above, two distinct scores are being described, not a range that includes the values "96" and "97".

The "rule of from" [sic?] presented above allows its usage in that case ("98 to 95") but is broader than I believe in. Taken to the absurd, this might suggest that I could rewrite "just between us, man-to-man" as "just between us, man–man". :p

What say you: must an en-dash be used only for a range of values, or may it be used more permissively?

1 Answer 1


It does look rather awkward to me, but there's nothing wrong with it. An en dash is typically used for ranges, but it can also be used for relationships and connections as in sports scores and votes, though these usages are somewhat contested, or just plain falling out of favour.

Typographywise, I think I would prefer to use a figure dash if it's available. It usually isn't, though, and in most fonts, the en dash is actually a better substitute for the figure dash than the hyphen is, so you should just use whatever works, I guess.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.