Hyphens, En Dashes, and Em Dashes
All dashes are not even. In fact, the hyphen isn’t considered a dash at all, and en dash (–) and em dash (—) are similar enough to prove confusing. I also guarantee one of these three is more diverse than you would think. With the sentences below, decide which of these three does each need: hyphen (-), en dash (–), em dash (—). One doesn't need any.
He considered himself a family oriented man.
- The young girl was deliriously happy to receive the kitty for her birthday.
- Baxter, who normally strolled in at 9 10 in the morning, considered himself a superstar.
- He thanked them for remaining enthusiastic during the long meeting indeed for remaining exuberant.
- eBay recently cracked down on Louis Vuitton styled knockoffs.
Thank you for participating! An explanation for each answer follows:
- As our style guide states, “If a compound modifier—two or more words that express a single concept—precedes a noun, use a hyphen to link the words in the compound.”
He considered himself a family-oriented man.
- The entry on hyphens in our style guide also states, “This does not apply to compounds containing an adverb ending in -ly," so resist the urge to put a hyphen between the adverb deliriously and adjective happy.
The young girl was deliriously happy to receive the kitty for her birthday.
- As our style guide says, “Use an en dash to indicate numerical ranges.” The en dash is also commonly used for words that describe a range (Sept.–Dec.).
Baxter, who normally strolled in at 9–10 in the morning, considered himself a superstar.
- Loosely related information should be set off with commas or, to really delineate the shift, the em dash.
He thanked them for not zoning out during the long meeting—indeed for remaining lively.
- A little known function of the en dash is as the so called “superhyphen.” It takes the place of the hyphen with phrasal nouns (apple pie–flavored) or proper nouns comprising two words (Hulk Hogan–sized). It is also used to report scores (89–76) or to show a connection, sense of direction, or conflict between two words (liberal–conservative debate, Los Angeles–London flight).
eBay recently cracked down on Louis Vuitton–styled knockoffs.