Hyphens and dashes are often confused, but they have different purposes and should be used correctly in writing. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the difference between hyphens and dashes, how to use them properly, and provide examples in an instructional tone.
Hyphens are used to join two or more words together to create a compound word. For example, “well-being” and “mother-in-law” are compound words that use hyphens. Hyphens are also used to separate numbers, letters, and words in certain cases. Here are some examples of how to use hyphens correctly:
- Compound Words:
Dashes are used to indicate a sudden break or change in thought, to emphasize a point, or to set off a parenthetical phrase. There are two types of dashes: en dash and em dash. The en dash is shorter and is used to indicate a range of numbers or dates, while the em dash is longer and is used for emphasis. Here are some examples of how to use dashes correctly:
- Em Dash:
- She finally got the promotion she deserved — after years of hard work.
- My favorite color — blue — is very calming to me.
- En Dash:
- Pages 20–30 of the book
- January–March of the year
How to use hyphens and dashes properly
Now that we’ve covered the basics of hyphens and dashes, let’s discuss some general rules for using them correctly:
- Hyphens should be used to join two or more words together to create a compound word, while dashes are used to indicate a sudden break or change in thought.
- Use an em dash to set off a parenthetical phrase or to emphasize a point. Use an en dash to indicate a range of numbers or dates.
- Do not use a hyphen between an adverb ending in “ly” and an adjective. For example, “easily identifiable” should not be written as “easily-identifiable.”
- Hyphenate a compound modifier that comes before a noun. For example, “well-written article” is correct, while “well written article” is not.
- Use a hyphen to separate two words that together form a single thought or concept. For example, “free-range” and “high-tech” are correctly hyphenated.
Hyphens and dashes are important punctuation marks that should be used correctly in writing. Hyphens are used to join two or more words together to create a compound word, while dashes are used to indicate a sudden break or change in thought. Knowing how to use hyphens and dashes properly can help improve the clarity and readability of your writing. By following the guidelines and examples provided, you can confidently use hyphens and dashes in your writing.