Using En Dashes

What Is an En Dash:

An en dash (–) is longer than a hypen (-) but shorter than an em dash (—).

To create an en dash, you press control 0150. If this shortcut doesn’t work, you can also create the en dash by typing in the preceding content, space, hyphen, space, post-en dash content. Example: the number 2, space, hyphen, space, the number 4. The hyphen will then automatically turn into an en dash (2 – 4). Since a space shouldn’t be there, you just go back and delete the spaces (2–4).

Rules for When to Use an En Dash:

Used in a range or unfinished range to indicate up to and including.


Used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective where one element is an open compound or both elements contain hyphens.


In British English, they prefer to use an en dash instead of an em dash (so see the em dash blog for those usages).


Examples:

The even lasted from 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

  • Since this is a range, you use an en dash, not a hyphen.

In John 3:16–17, we read the famous passage indicating God’s love.

  • Showing the range of verses.

Katie Chambers (1984–) continues to live on despite the virus; thank goodness!

  • This is an unfinished range since I am not dead yet.

My grandpa struggled during the post–World War II years.

  • Since World War II is an open compound, an en dash not a hyphen can be used. A hyphen indicates exactly two words have been joined, so with the hyphen it reads post-World. The en dash indicates more than two words.

I used Chuck Norris–style fighting.

  • Chuck Norris is an open compound, so again, the en dash is used.

Practice:

I am not including a practice with this one since it would be very obvious where the en dashes go. Mostly en dashes are just used in ranges. So, just remember to make those an en dash rather than a hyphen.

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