In Writing, Are You Confused with eN-Dashes, eM-Dashes and Hyphens?

Avoid hyphen, en-dash and em-dash (ndash and mdash, n-dash and m-dash) Confusion

The use of dashes is inconsistent in lots of writing—regardless of the writer is (amateur or long-timer). The hyphen, em-dash and en-dash crop-up all the time while you’re using Microsoft Word, but most don’t know why and we use the different dashes inconsistently.

What’s the visual difference between the n-dash and m-dash?

The n-dash is about as wide as an uppercase N; the m-dash (or em-dash) is as wide as an M. 

hyphen

 An en-dash is used to connect values in a range or that are related. A good rule is to use it when you’re expressing a “to” relationship. 

  • in years 2001–2010
  • pages 63–66 are relevant
  • the Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos 43–8

An em-dash is typically used as a stand-in for a comma or parenthesis to separate out phrases—or even just a word—in a sentence for various reasons.

  • School is based on the three R’s—reading, writing, and ’rithmetic
  • Against all odds, Martha—the unluckiest woman in love—discovered the love of her life.
  • I sense something—a feeling I’ve not felt before.

A hyphen separates syllables of a word, like during a line break

  • pro-America

  • caged-free eggs

  • self-publishing

TIP: you can create both the en-dash or em-dash quickly in Microsoft Word

en-dash:
Automatically created in Word when you type “something – something” (word-space-hyphen-space-word).

em-dash:
Automatically created in Word when you type “something–something” (word-hyphen-hyphen-word).

 

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Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author.org, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 33 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors & Writers was published in June 2015.

Become part of her inner circle by joining the Author’s Ark and exclusive monthly webinar and coaching event. Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2015, the dates are August 27-29th. Join Judith live on several shows on AuthorsRadio.fm: Authors on Fire (one-on-one interviews with authors and their books with Judith asking the questions on Tuesdays at 1 EST), Author YOU (the journey begins, retstarts or ignites to set the author on the road to success on Fridays at 1 EST) and AuthorU – Your Guide to Book Publishing (book publishing today – over all strategies to your marketing and publishing success on Wednesdays at 1 EST).
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Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.

header-logo1.pngAuthor U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.

 If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen.

 

One Comment on In Writing, Are You Confused with eN-Dashes, eM-Dashes and Hyphens?

  1. THANK YOU!! I’ve been wondering about this very thing. Thank you for clearing my confusion.

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