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Thread: Dashes

  1. johnelv
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    #1

    Dashes

    What is the difference between and en-dash and an em-dash, and how and when are they used?

    Thanks
    John

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    #2

    Re: Dashes

    Quote Originally Posted by johnelv
    What is the difference between and en-dash and an em-dash, and how and when are they used?

    Thanks
    John
    1 entry found for en-dash.
    en·dash or en dash ( P ) Pronunciation Key (ndsh)
    n.
    A symbol ( - ) used in writing or printing to connect continuing or inclusive numbers or to connect elements of a compound adjective when either of the elements is an open compound, as 1880-1945 or Princeton-New York trains.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [From its being the width of an n in printing.]

    Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved

    1 entry found for em-dash.
    em·dash or em dash ( P ) Pronunciation Key (mdsh)
    n.
    A symbol ( ) used in writing and printing to indicate a break in thought or sentence structure, to introduce a phrase added for emphasis, definition, or explanation, or to separate two clauses.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    [From its being the width of an m in printing.]

    Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    Does this help? I got the info from www.dictionary.com

  2. johnelv
    Guest
    #3

    Dashes

    Thanks - yes it helped me understand an en-dash. But now I have more questions about em-dash. Seems em-dash is similar in behavior to a comma and a semi-coln in separating stand alone clauses - so when would you use an em-dash over a semi-colon or comma.

    Thanks
    John

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      • British English
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    #4
    Most people use it because they aren't too sure whether to use a comma or a semi-colon.

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