Questions tagged [dashes]

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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305
votes
1answer
383k 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 (—)?
29
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3answers
33k 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 now ...
57
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6answers
132k 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 ...
16
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2answers
3k 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 ...
13
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2answers
12k 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 ...
4
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2answers
5k 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?
4
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3answers
3k 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 ...
86
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10answers
120k 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 ...
19
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3answers
4k 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
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2answers
3k views

Semicolon followed by a dash;—What is it?

I see repeated use in numerous 19th printed texts and manuscripts, both British and American, of a semi-colon followed by an em dash. It is clearly a punctuation device that was used frequently in ...
3
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4answers
8k 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, ...
12
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3answers
5k 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 -,...
4
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4answers
3k 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 ...
3
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1answer
41k 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 middle ...
0
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4answers
2k views

Difference between using a “-” and a “,” in a sentence

I have noticed that some native english speakers use the "-" sign to explain some additional things in a sentence: eg Sophie is going to the shop - which happened to be around the corner - to buy ...
-1
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1answer
342 views

Is it correct to say “inter- disciplinary/national” instead of “interdisciplinary and international”?

I'm trying to be more concise with my words. Does writing "inter- disciplinary/national" to describe to my educational background make sense? If not, what's a good alternative?
22
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2answers
346k 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 - ...
9
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3answers
7k 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 (he ...
7
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2answers
3k 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 ...
4
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2answers
5k 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 ...
5
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1answer
4k views

In British English, which is more common — the em dash or the en dash?

I'm reasonably certain the em dash is more common than the en dash in American English. But which of the two is more common in British English?
4
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3answers
6k views

Is the em dash used in formal writing?

Is it valid to use em dashes in formal writing? My teacher said it's informal to use em dashes under any circumstances, so I just wanted to make sure. I've gone through several related questions in ...
8
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1answer
16k 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
3
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1answer
1k 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
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2answers
2k 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

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 interruption ...
3
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1answer
802 views

Why are place names in some old books a capital letter followed by dashes, and what is this phenomenon called?

This is something very odd I have noticed in some older books, most recently in "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky. Place names, when not specifically essential or well-known, are made up of one ...
2
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1answer
324 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?
1
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1answer
72 views

What do you do with a comma that would come after a dash?

One common use of em dashes is to offset parenthetical phrases. But if a comma outside the parenthetical phrase immediately follows the parenthetical, what do you do with the comma? I realize that ...
1
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0answers
153 views

punctuation: the 20 to 30 year old age group

I'd like to know how "the 20 to 30 year old age group" is punctuated in standard English. "30-year-old" should be hyphenated. What about "20 to 30"? Any principles at work? I'd appreciate your help.
1
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1answer
454 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 usage, ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Which do you read x' as dash or prime?

In Japan, it is occasionally said that x' should be read as eks-prime in mathematical contexts. However, there are several cases to read eks-dash. In addition, a person says that eks-dash was ...
0
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2answers
45 views

Dashes to provide parenthetical information to an item in list - example from BBC?

Quoting the BBC website at https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-51047186 It was understood the couple would continue to receive money for a time from Harry's father under the new agreement, although ...