What are hyphens? (with examples)
A hyphen (—) is a punctuation mark with various uses (explained below). A hyphen should not be confused with a hyphen (-), which is used as a complement in compound adjectives (eg,“first class restaurant“) and compound nouns (eg,“water bottle“).
Hyphens are slightly longer than hyphens when handwritten. (Because most keyboards don’t have a hyphen handy, some writers use two hyphens (–) to represent a hyphen, but most just use a hyphen.)
The Two Types of Dash
There are two types of scripts: the“script me“(-) and the“em dash“(–). The“em dash“is the same length as the character“M“(uppercase), and the“a dash“is the same length as the letter“n“(lower case).
What Are Dashes Used For?
Hyphens are not single use (ie they are used in places where other punctuation marks might be used). Here are the seven ways hyphens are used:
(1) Dashes As Parentheses.
The hyphens (usually“scripts in“) can be used as parentheses. For example:
- On Saturday, I took the club secretary (Pat Derbyshire) to Skegness.
- On Saturday, I took the club secretary – Pat Derbyshire – to Skegness.
(commas could also be used)
(2) A Dash As a Pause for Effect.
Un guión (generalmente, un“and script“) can replace three dots when used as a pause for the effect. For example:
- I eventually found it…in my shoe.
- I eventually found it — in my shoe.
(3) A Dash in Place of a Semicolon.
Un guión (generalmente, un“em dash“) can replace a semicolon that is used to merge two independent clauses. For example:
- He cannot afford it; the flight alone is too much.
- He cannot afford it — the flight alone is too much.
(4) A Dash in Place of a Colon.
Se puede usar un guión (generalmente, un“em dash“) to replace a colon to introduce an appositive. For example:
- She is only interested in one thing: money.
- She is only interested in one thing — money.
(5) A Dash to Replace“From..To…“or“Between…And…“.
You can use a hyphen (usually a“em dash“) between times and dates. For example:
- 14 February–24 February
When using a dash to separate times and dates, omit words like“from…to…“and“between…and…“
(6) A Dash in Place of a Hyphen in a Compound Adjective with Equal Parts.
Un guión (generalmente, un“in script“) can replace a hyphen in a compound adjective with two of the same elements. For example:
- The India–Pakistan issue
- The Smith–Jones case
(7) A Dash to Credit a Quotation.
A hyphen can be used (always a“em dash“) to credit a quote. For example::
they go.“— Oscar Wilde