Hyphen or dash?

Tags: writing.
By lucb1e on 2012-01-09 00:04:35 +0100

I have read about the difference before, but I forgot again (I even forgot that what I called a dash was actually a hyphen). Most texts explaining it are way too long to remember. People end up using one or sometimes two hyphens, only differentiating between a hypen and an em dash, if they differentiate between anything at all.

This post is a short summary of when to use a hyphen, an en dash and an em dash.

- You use an en dash for spacing between dates, ranges and connections: It was approximately 26–06–1999 when I first walked the Pallet Town–Viridian City route.

- You use an em dash to create a break in the text: You should go with Cherry MX Brown—it is the only one providing tactile feedback without the noise after all. In Dutch we call it a 'thought line', a good way to think about it since it's often used to add a trailing thought.

- You use the hyphen, the only one of the three actually present on your keyboard, for everything else.

On Windows:
To make an en dash: Alt+0150.
To make an em dash: Alt+0151.
To make a hyphen: I'm not going to explain how one presses the key to the right of the zero.
Another post tagged 'writing': Annoying writing styles

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