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Dashes–Dashes—Dashes

Correct Use of Dashes

There are four kinds of dashes. From shortest to longest, they are:

  • Hyphen
  • En dash
  • Minus sign
  • Em dash

Hyphen

See the section on Hyphens.

En Dash

Technically, the width of the small letter n. Represents the word “to” or “through”:

1941–1945, 45–48°

Minus Sign

Technically, the same width as other arithmetic operators (in the typographic world). On most keyboards, the minus sign is the same width as the hyphen character; so, don’t worry about it.

-4°, -10 points

Em Dash

Technically, the width of the small letter m. Represents a break in thought, usually for emphasis:

Driving at night—especially in the rain—can be dangerous and requires more attention than daytime driving.

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