Dashes

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johnelv

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

Thanks
John
 

Tdol

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johnelv said:
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
 
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johnelv

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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
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
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Most people use it because they aren't too sure whether to use a comma or a semi-colon. ;-)
 
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