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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304
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 (—)?
86
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10answers
119k 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 ...
57
votes
6answers
131k 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 ...
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 ...
22
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2answers
342k 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 - ...
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— ...
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 ...
14
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5answers
11k 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 "...
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 ...
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 -,...
10
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1answer
5k 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 ...
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 ...
8
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4answers
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 ...
8
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9answers
21k 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 ...
8
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2answers
20k 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 ...
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
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
887 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
950 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
5
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5answers
3k 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?
5
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2answers
388 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 ‒ ...
5
votes
1answer
376 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 ...
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?
5
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1answer
649 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?
5
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1answer
4k 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,...
5
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
4
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1answer
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-...
4
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4answers
10k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
16k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
25k 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
169 views

Punctuation of a dependent clause for strong emphasis

Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white? This is a black instead of a white pencil. This is a black, instead of a white, ...
4
votes
1answer
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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
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?
3
votes
3answers
686 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 ...
3
votes
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, ...
3
votes
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
votes
1answer
2k views

Using dashes vs. commas in business communications

Having settled into a new job in communications, I am faced with the issue of em dashes. Since I am quite partial to commas but my boss is more partial to em dashes, I can't help but wonder whether ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
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1answer
2k views

The Em Dash: Afterthought or Added Emphasis?

Whenever I read a piece of writing that includes an em dash, I'm unsure wether to read it as an afterthought or added emphasis. Here's two examples I made: The em dash being used as an afterthought: ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

When writing an informal letter, is it advisable to use the em rule at all?

I must point out before explaining my situation that I'm an English learner. However, for this question I need the help of an expert; that's why I'm asking here and not in ELL. When writing an ...
3
votes
1answer
675 views

Approximating Fancy Punctuation

Is it ever okay (or acceptable in modern casual usage) to approximate an ellipse glyph '…' with three full-stops '...' or spaced full-stops '. . .'? The textbooks say you shouldn't, ...
3
votes
2answers
62 views

Dashes in “st-vertex-cut” or “st-vertex cut”?

People use "vertex-cut" and "vertex cut" where I am unsure whether it should be with dash or without dash. For me, it looks nicest to have "st-vertex-cut" and then "st-vertex-cut set" without dash, ...