Hot answers tagged

42

Given these choices: U+2010 ‭ ‐ HYPHEN U+2011 ‭ ‑ NON-BREAKING HYPHEN U+2012 ‭ ‒ FIGURE DASH U+2013 ‭ – EN DASH U+2014 ‭ — EM DASH U+2015 ‭ ― HORIZONTAL BAR U+2212 ‭ − MINUS SIGN U+2E17 ‭ ⸗ DOUBLE OBLIQUE HYPHEN The right answer is actually U+2015, whose alternate name is indeed “quotation dash”. Failing that, you are supposed to use U+2014. This ...


25

I once read a memorable column (by Willam Safire) that talked about this. I ran across it in his book You Could Look It Up, which is a collection of his newspaper columns about language. This one was first printed over 30 years ago, in 1984 – wow! time flies! – but I think it still rings pretty true. I managed to find a scan of the original column:


18

On resumes, the most common way to indicate that a period is ongoing is either 2009 – present or 2009 to present The en dash is the preferred punctuation. Many word processors replace a double hyphen with an en dash once the next word is typed.


13

The m-dash is used to set off anything parenthetical from the main sentence. This could be an apposition, a summary, or even a phrase that stands in no relation to the main sentence at all, except by vague association. That's why it is a bit of a lazy mark: you could use it anywhere, and it gives the reader little information about the relation between the ...


13

If we can trust Grammar Girl's thoroughness of search, then her advice is sound: Every style guide I checked, except the AP Stylebook, stated there should be no spaces between an em-dash and the adjacent words. That means it is a style choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that uses Associated Press style, put in the ...


10

Em dashes can be used if allowed by your style guide (but don't use them too often). For example, this is what APA says: First, when would you use an em dash? The Publication Manual (p. 97) notes that em dashes are “used to set off an element added to amplify or to digress from the main clause.” The em dash draws a reader’s attention, partly because of ...


9

I have been searching for the same as the OP. More searching has revealed this in the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (I have not read the whole of it, so I might be misinterpreting it): 16.17. Signatures, preceded by an em dash, are sometimes run in with last line of text.


8

The first version is correct. You've used a dash to separate the appositive from the main sentence, which is acceptable. Usually, this is considered better than the second version; one independent clause is better than two, stylistically speaking. I myself would probably have used a comma instead of a dash, since I think commas give a much nicer flow.


8

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, you should drop the comma. See section 6.86: "In modern usage, if the context calls for an em dash where a comma would ordinarily separate a dependent clause from an independent clause, the comma is omitted." No word on commas that separate independent clauses from each other, however, which is the case that brought ...


8

According to a reddit.com post, this usage “originates as a navy term for flag signalling”: A tackline is a length of halyard approximately 6 feet long; the exact length depends upon the size of flags in use. The tackline is transmitted and spoken as tack and is written as a dash (hyphen) "-". It is used to avoid ambiguity. It separates signals or groups ...


8

I'm the woman from the video. Saying 'tac' isn't silly at all. I grew up in a military family, so this was used regularly when speaking of a dash. Without getting into details, my father was in many fields where he was required to spell out commands via a speaking system, and they used tac. In school, we used 'dash'. Generally, I use tac when referring to ...


7

An ellipsis is used in a quote to convey that the speaker trails off. An em dash is used in a quote to convey that the speaker is cut off, even if the speaker cuts him/herself off, as is the case in your second example. Source: https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/grammar-ease-ellipsis-versus-the-em-dash/


7

If you must use something other than quotation marks for dialog, here is The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) 6.91: Em dashes are occasionally used instead of quotation marks to set off dialogue (à la writers in some European languages). Each speech starts a new paragraph. No space follows the dash. —Will he obtain the necessary signatures? —Of ...


6

I believe that the most typographically correct method of spelling it out while using numbers would be a 2- to 4-room apartment. (Unfortunately my usual source for such things is silent on this type of matter, but I swear I've seen this in a reasonably authoritative location someplace.) My logic for this is that 1) using multiple hyphens or dashes in close ...


6

If you are using it as a compound adjective or noun, as in your example sentence, it should be "40-50-year-olds". If you are using it as a separate qualifier, as in BillFranke's suggested alternate wording, than it would be "those 40-50 years old". Confusing, perhaps, but the general rule is that when any sort of counted "thing" is used as an adjective, ...


6

In your example, the em dashes are used in pairs to set off parenthetical phrases. A parenthetical phrase is a clause that is inserted into the flow of an otherwise complete sentence as an "interruption" that adds additional information. If the parenthetical phrase is removed, the remaining words should form a full and complete sentence on their own. ...


6

Unicode now calls all of these "Dash" characters (meaning, they have the "Dash" property, not that their names mention dash): U+002D ‭ - HYPHEN-MINUS U+058A ‭ ֊ ARMENIAN HYPHEN U+05BE ‭ ־ HEBREW PUNCTUATION MAQAF U+1400 ‭ ᐀ CANADIAN SYLLABICS HYPHEN U+1806 ‭ ᠆ MONGOLIAN TODO SOFT HYPHEN U+2010 ‭ ‐ HYPHEN U+2011 ‭ ‑ NON-BREAKING HYPHEN U+2012 ‭ ‒ ...


5

Yes it's okay to use a dash there. But strictly speaking it should be an em dash... Dances, parties, luncheons — all these should be part of your senior year. The shorter en dash is for value ranges, such as £100–150. The even shorter plain old dash (aka hyphen) is for word-hyphenation. EDIT: These distinctions don't really apply to casual/informal ...


5

To my mind, there is a clear difference in pronunciation between the two: the em-dash is a clipped break, or a very abrupt shift, while the ellipsis is a distinct pause with a bit of elongation of the prior syllable. If you take a sample sentence of Wait... there may be something. vs. Wait—there may be something. then for the first one, ...


5

A figure dash is a dash which is the same width as a digit (in fonts where all digits are the same width) and is used for alignment purposes. This is often the same width as an en-dash, but does not need to be. A horizontal bar is often used as a quotation dash, and so has a different meaning to an em-dash. You can find more on Wikipedia at Figure dash ...


5

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest, on no more evidence than my own inattentive impression, that @Billare is right: your premise is wrong. Pages 143 ff. of this show that dashes, ellipses and the like were more common in the past than you might think. But they showed up most often in relatively ephemeral works—those which are least likely to ...


5

I would say that dash does set off a summary. But I think a comma would have worked there as well, and I suspect Gould used the dash merely because the sentence is so long, and he worried that the final clause might have gotten lost.


5

What you have written is incorrect, several times over. First, you never follow a dash with punctuation; it simply isn’t done. Second, you didn’t use a dash there, and you should have done so. These are your three main choices here, with some variation in number 2: Unspaced em dash: You didn’t use a dash there—and you should have done so. (no space) ...


5

First, it's not a hyphen; it's an em dash. We use it for: Aposiopesis: where a sentence is ended suddenly because the speaker is too emotional or can't think of the right way to express something or just— A stronger break than parentheses—inserting a clause in the middle of another though—but remaining with the same sentence. Showing a change of thought, ...


5

For a view directly opposed to Wikipedia's, consider this entry from Words Into Type, Third Edition (1974): Parentheses are used to enclose expressions that are of such a nature that they would not be sufficiently set off by commas or dashes. Many times dashes or parentheses are equally good style, but parentheses should preferably be reserved to enclose ...


5

Good catch - it shows careful reading. But consider that the story was published in 1846 (and probably written the year before). Today we might use either the semicolon or the em-dash (but not both). Typically, the part after a semicolon is a complete sentence - one that is closely related to the first part (also usually a complete sentence). (I'm glad ...


5

There is no rule that prohibits the use of or to isolate clauses in your interrupting phrase: A word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses. Note: there are rules for using dashes, parentheses, and commas. See parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes ...


5

hyphen "The short one" Its diminutive size helps the reader to read the two words as a single word. Ideally, this would be visually invisible and the two words would be directly joined, but grammar rules don't agree. en-dash "The mid-sized one" The difference in appearance is important in order to signal to the reader that it should not be interpreted as a ...


5

In a maths context (at least within physics) in the UK, you would use "prime". If you didn't, you'd say something more specific, like "first derivative of x", as the prime can be used for other derived variables as well (e.g. x after an event, especially in lower level work) A "dash" is a horizontal line, and isn't commonly used in mathematics as it's very ...


4

Wikipedia recommends two hyphens, and no en-dash or em-dash: An exception to the use of en dashes is made however when prefixing an already hyphenated compound; an en dash is generally avoided as a distraction in this case. Examples of this may include: non-English-speaking air traffic controllers semi-labor-intensive industries Proto-Indo-...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible