Proper Use of Dashes

dashesThere are two types of dashes: the en dash ( – ) and em dash ( — ).

When to Use the En Dash:

1. To show periods of time.

Example:

I will be in Poland from the 23rd-25th of April.

2. To combine two open compounds (words that have an adjective and modifying noun to form a new word).

Example:

I attended a real estate-money lender seminar.

When to Use the Em Dash:

1. For emphasis.

Example:

I love you—the only person I will love—forever.

2. A sudden change of thought.

Example:

I wanted you to—oh, never mind.

3. Show a surprise.

Example:

Behind the dark door lurked a languid creature—an old bat who had lost its way.

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