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  1. #1
    ackeiyword is offline Banned
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    Dashes and Hyphens

    When is a dash used in writing a range? For example, it does not seem appropriate when the range is preceded by a prepostion, such as "from A-Z". It seems like that should require "from A to Z". Or "lays between 2-4 eggs" should be "lays between 2 and 4 eggs". But: "it lays 2-4 eggs".

    Another question: would "between 2 and 4 eggs" mean 3 eggs? 3 is between 2 and 4. More properly, "lays from 2 to 4 eggs"? If something happened on October 8, 9, and 11, would it be correct to say "between October 8 and 11", "between October 7 and 12", would a dash be appropriate? "from October 8 to 12" doesn't seem right, since to me that implies all dates, and it did not happen on October 10. These types of ranges are use often in my field, and the way they are expressed is all over the board. I would appreciate your input.

    One last thing: is there a space before and after the dash? With numbers it looks fine without (2-4), but with a mix it looks funny to me

  2. #2
    lauralie2 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Dashes and Hyphens

    Consistency is the key:



    • from A to Z
      • correlative pair
        • to me it means, A and Z are included


    • A–Z (includes A and Z)
      • without correlative pair
        • to me it means, A and Z are included





    • lays between 2 and 4 eggs
      • paired
        • to me it means, lays 2, 3, 4 eggs


    • lays 2–4 eggs
      • unpaired
        • to me it means, lays 2, 3, 4 eggs





    • something happened on October 8, 9, and 10
      • paired: happened between October 8 and 10
        • to me the meaning is ambiguous

      • unpaired: happened October 8–10
        • seems awkward using the en dash





    There is no space before and after the en dash:

    An en dash (–) is most commonly used to indicate a range of numbers. It is longer than a hyphen although a hyphen with spaces surrounding it can be used if a dash is not available. In Microsoft Word, doing this will automatically change the hyphen into an en dash. (Example: August 13–August 18, or pages 29–349. Note that there should be no space around the en dash.) Source

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