Audio Version

Three types of dashes:

  • hyphen
  • en-dash
  • em-dash

hyphen

  • Connects compounded words: front-end, mass-produced, or group numbers.
  • There is no spacing on either side.
  • Can be created by hitting the minus sign

en-dash

  • called this because it is the length of a capital “N.”
  • Is used in ranges: 6–10 years, 1997–2017
  • There is no spacing on either side.

Can be created by:

  • On a Mac: option and hyphen (“-“ )
  • On a PC: Ctrl + minus (Please note: Num Lock must be enabled and you must use the minus key on the numeric keypad.)

em-dash

  • called this because it is the length of a capital “M.”
  • Used for interrupted dialogue or as a parenthesis in the middle of a sentence—a thought interrupting another thought.
  • There is no spacing on either side.

Can be created by:

  • hitting a double hyphen on some keyboards
  • On a Mac: option + shift and hyphen (“-“)
  • On a PC: Ctrl + Alt + minus (Please note: Num Lock must be enabled and you must use the minus key on the numeric keypad.)

ellipsis (…)

  • Used for the omission of words.
  • Can be used for the trailing off of a thought or showing a hesitation.
  • Don’t over-use.

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