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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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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
  • 1,091
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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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
  • 2,259
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
21 votes
5 answers
17k 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 "...
Dmitry Frank's user avatar
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
  • 1,163
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
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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11 votes
4 answers
3k views

What's the best way of being clear that a dash ("–") is being used as subtraction in a written message? [closed]

When writing technical emails, it's quite common for me to need to include simple mathematical formulas. I find it hard to clearly include subtractions because dashes are so commonly used as generic ...
Matt's user avatar
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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
  • 961
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
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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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9 votes
9 answers
22k 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 ...
dottything's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
26k views

Space before/after emdash or not? [duplicate]

I have seen style manuals suggest that there be no space between emdash and the surrounding words. The following NY times article has spaces in the first sentence: "An expression of concern by ...
Joe Black's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
6k 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 name,...
Peeja's user avatar
  • 209
8 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
Robin Green's user avatar
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
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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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
  • 79
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
2 answers
1k 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 ...
alvonellos's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)?

Is it acceptable to use a single hyphen as a dash (as the BBC does)? Example from BBC News: Venezuela - a major oil producer - has been heavily affected by the fall in oil prices on ...
whippoorwill's user avatar
  • 2,401
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
6 votes
1 answer
8k 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 places ...
user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
4k 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?
pilcrow's user avatar
  • 453
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
5 votes
2 answers
521 views

Why are there multiple kinds of dashes in the English language?

At our writing disposal are a preponderance of short straight lines: Hyphen - En dash – Em dash — minus sign − Horizontal bar ― Figure dash ‒ ...
Minnow's user avatar
  • 2,702
5 votes
1 answer
394 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 ...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
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
5 votes
1 answer
716 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?
Anderson Silva's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
4k 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?
Hypercube's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
Phrogz's user avatar
  • 496
5 votes
1 answer
14k views

what's the difference between a hyphen, a dash and a minus sign? [closed]

hyphen(-), dash(—), minus(-) What do I use when? and does it really matter? And what's their origin, why did people think they needed another very similar sign?
bubakazouba's user avatar
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
4 votes
3 answers
707 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 ...
Gary's user avatar
  • 869
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
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
4 votes
6 answers
24k 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 why ...
Tarik's user avatar
  • 2,573
4 votes
1 answer
2k 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 em-...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
13k 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 ...
Masz Lada's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
32k 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 ...
alexeit's user avatar
  • 143
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
1 answer
1k 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
644 views

Are the days of using dashes over? [duplicate]

I ran into a sentence which I would like to share in here to prepare the context for my question. "it was shown that TBT, HBT, and HSDT1 have the same results in order to derive fundamental ...
Sajjad's user avatar
  • 309
4 votes
1 answer
939 views

Punctuating a sentence containing em dashes within commas [duplicate]

I always find myself writing sentences that contain clauses within clauses, and I can never decide what the right way to punctuate this is. I'm not specifying what kinds of clauses because they could ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 1,940
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
4 answers
3k 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.
kit's user avatar
  • 61
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

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