How to Use a Dash?


How to Use a Dash?
School education
  1. Dash vs Hyphen
  2. Em Dash vs En Dash
  3. How to Type Dash?

You will not believe it, but a lot of people confuse the dash with a hyphen, and also do not know what is the long and short dash, except the length. This topic is not so complicated. You just need to repeat some grammatical rules. 


Let us learn the differences between these punctuation marks and the grammatical instructions when to apply them.


Dash vs Hyphen

There is a significant difference in the rules for their application between these dividing marks. 

Let us start with the rules of using D.

Before the replicas in a dialog:

Hey! What's up?

– Hello! Long time, no see


After a direct speech before the author's words: 

Today is finally the day of X! – Sharon resumed and continued running.


To highlight the plug-in structures and any additional information in a sentence.

Everything was covered with fog — yes, and it was still too late — and Gili did not want to go hunting at such a time.

The surrounding area — and even those distant lawns — must be cleaned of debris and weeds.


To indicate the range. In this case, no spaces are used before and after the separator. For example:

The height of the hill was approximately 8–10 m. 


In the names of routes of trains, buses and aircraft: 

The Washington – Seattle train arrives at platform three. 


Grammar was and remains the most difficult section in language learning. In order to understand all the rules correctly and quickly, why not take a course of private classes with a tutor? On the UpskillsTutor website, you can select a teacher for your level and learning goal.


In what cases is H written?

For the hyphenation of words. And it is forbidden to break syllables, to separate one letter from a word or a syllable. 

Do not trust this exhi-

bition center too much, 

last year they did not accept our pro-



To transmit sounds in writing or designation of a word written letters by letters. For instance:

Whoa-whoa-whoa – the gulls were screaming.

You must pronounce s-c-o-tch, not s-k-e-tch. 


In this way, we also transmit a stutter or clutter in someone's speech. 

I d-d-don't th-th-think so. 

    1. Always after all-, ex-, and self- and before -elect: self-confidence, editor-elect
    2. To write complex nouns: mother-in-law, physicist-mathematician, comedian-artist.  
    3. To form compound adjectives. These are precisely those in which it is necessary to emphasize the independent meaning of each of the words that make up their composition. For instance: absent-minded, highly-respected, long-distance, ready-made, full-length
    4. Thus, we add prefixes to proper names or words with a capital letter: pre-American, pseudo-Jack. 


  • In the writing of fractions and complex numerals: three-tenths. 


  1. To avoid cluttering vowels or consonants at the prefix and root boundary: pre-eminent, semi-identical
  2. For distinguishing the meanings of words in which prefixes and words can be written together and in hyphen. For instance, re-creation is to create again and recreation is recovery, rest

If you are still in doubt about using a hyphen or dash, here are more rules for writing them: 

How to Use a Dash?

Read more: The Meaning of P.S.

Em Dash vs En Dash

So, what does a dash look like? This punctuation mark is of two types: 

  • equals the length of the letter "m": —;
  • equals the length of the letter "n": –.

Sign — is used:

  1. when additional information is highlighted in a sentence;
  2. to indicate a gap in a sentence; 
  3. in a complex sentence, when there is a semantic relationship of opposition and explanation of cause and effect (here you can also put a semicolon or colon). 

Usually, no spaces are placed on either side, but this depends on the style. This sign is more informal, so it should be used with caution in academic writing.


The symbol – is applied in all other cases described in the previous section. At the same time, in the phrases "from … to …" and "between … and …," with a numeric range, a dash is not put.


How to Type Dash?

Are you afraid of the necessity of using em dash code? Read the instructions below. 

How to Use a Dash?

As a result, even if you remember that a short dash is written in numerical ranges, you need to practice how to deal with the rest of the grammar. Better than an English tutor, no one will give it to you. Decide on one-to-one lessons, and you can easily avoid many difficulties.

Read more: Abbreviation for Inches and Feet

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How to Use a Dash?

How to Type Dash?

Are you afraid of the necessity of using em dash code? Read the instructions below…Read more on UpskillsTutor

What Does a Dash Look Like?

equals the length of the letter "m": —; equals the length of the letter "n": –...Read more on UpskillsTutor