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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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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 (—)?
apaderno's user avatar
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31 votes
3 answers
36k 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 ...
Senseful's user avatar
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62 votes
6 answers
137k 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 ...
nohat's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
5k views

Spaces and em-dash

In using the em-dash, where do you put the spaces? Which of the following is correct? One space before: School is based on the three R’s —reading, writing, and ’rithemtic. One space after: School ...
gelolopez's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
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 ...
PapaCharlie9's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
12k 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, ...
Dog Lover's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
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 ...
ahsteele's user avatar
  • 259
4 votes
2 answers
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?
Srinivas Reddy Thatiparthy's user avatar
109 votes
10 answers
148k 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 ...
GLM's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
12k views

Which format is most common for representing a number range in U.S. punctuation style and in British punctuation style?

When writing about a number range, what is the predominant style used under U.S. punctuation conventions and under British punctuation conventions? Here are some (but by no means all) possible styles: ...
Ross Jones's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Nick B.'s user avatar
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24 votes
2 answers
444k 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 - ...
seeker's user avatar
  • 345
13 votes
3 answers
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 -,...
JFW's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
Sid's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
9k 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 ...
user02138's user avatar
  • 473
4 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Elena's user avatar
  • 57
3 votes
1 answer
5k views

em dashes and question marks

Would it be correct to use the question mark as it is written in the following sentence? "If your cousin invites you to visit—and why would he not?—I will expect your return after only nine days."
JleolaJ's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
48k 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 ...
Marcos's user avatar
  • 191
0 votes
1 answer
136 views

Student t-distribution: why the dash [sic, EA; hyphen]

In statistics, the t-distribution is important. It is an approximation to the normal distribution. Of course we don't say "normal-distribution" (with the dash). Well then, what exactly is the ...
Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Andra's user avatar
  • 800
-1 votes
1 answer
525 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?
Ahmad's user avatar
  • 1
11 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
Tamás's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
19k 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
Epitorial's user avatar
  • 374
7 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
7k views

In Britain, 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 publications. But which of the two is more common in British publications?
BloodyCurious's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Jim's user avatar
  • 61
5 votes
3 answers
10k 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 ...
Ghassan Saeed's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
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 ...
DougM's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Rodrigue's user avatar
  • 655
3 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Joe Black's user avatar
  • 970
2 votes
1 answer
357 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?
subtlearray's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
369 views

Should I use a comma or em dash before "including"?

Which of the following two versions is preferable, and why: This document applies to all systems, people, and processes that constitute the organization’s information systems, including board members,...
JoshG's user avatar
  • 656
2 votes
1 answer
6k views

Which do you read x' as dash or prime? [closed]

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 ...
Tugaru's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
2 answers
7k views

What should one use when introducing dialogue, hyphens, en-dashes or em-dashes? [closed]

I have always use the hyphen when introducing dialogue. -I love skating, but I'm not very good at it. But I have recently been educated about the existence and use of en/em dashes. Now, I think I ...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
1k 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.
Apollyon's user avatar
  • 1,879
1 vote
1 answer
188 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 ...
mprogrammer's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
505 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, ...
L84's user avatar
  • 167
0 votes
2 answers
111 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 ...
k1eran's user avatar
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