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En Dash vs. Em Dash. En Dash. An en dash , just one dash when typed, is used for periods of time when you might otherwise use to You never put a space before or after the dash Examples: The years 2001–2003 January–June. En Dash.

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en dash
En Dash
  • An en dash, just one dash when typed, is used for periods of time when you might otherwise use to
  • You never put a space before or after the dash
  • Examples:The years 2001–2003
    • January–June
en dash1
En Dash
  • An en dash is also used in place of a hyphen when combining open compounds.  
    • Examples:North Carolina–Virginia border
    • a high school–college conference
em dash
Em Dash

An em dash is the width of two dashes when typed.

Do not use a space before or after the dash

Use an em dash sparingly in formal writing.

em dash1
Em Dash
  • In informal writing, em dashes may replace:
    • commas,
    • semicolons,
    • colons,
    • parentheses
  • to indicate added emphasis, an interruption, or an abrupt change of thought.
em dash2
Em Dash
  • Examples:
    • You are the friend—the only friend—who offered to help me.
    • I pay the bills—she has all the fun.A semicolon would be used here in formal writing.
    • I need three items at the store—dog food, vegetarian chili, and cheddar cheese.Remember, a colon would be used here in formal writing.
em dash3
Em Dash
  • Examples:
    • My agreement with Fiona is clear—she teaches me French and I teach her German.Again, a colon would work here in formal writing.
    • Please call my agent—Jessica Cohen—about hiring me.Parentheses or commas would work just fine here instead of the dashes.
what is a hyphen
What is a Hyphen?
  • A hyphen is used to join words and to separate syllables of a single word.
    • Three-hundred-year-old
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