How many of you writers differentiate properly between the usage of the hyphen, the en dash and the em dash? Not yours truly! Until today, that is. I hereby vow—well, not exactly, of course—to explain to you how to use these three little beauties properly in your writing and to then use them properly myself.
According to this piece on Get it Write Online…
The hyphen is used like this:
The en dash (which is the width of the letter N) is used like so:
August 17–September 2
And the em dash (which is the width of the letter M) is used like this:
I went to the store—the one on Keren Hayesod—and I bought the damn apple.
The apple turned out to be rotten—or so I believe.
Now how do you create en and em dashes in WordPress?
Aha! This is the second most exciting part of this post. Turns out WordPress is all ready to go with en and em dashes. I learned from this post that if you simply write two hyphens next to each other, without spaces, you’ll get an en dash and if you do the same with three hyphens, you’ll get the em dash.
- this is a hyphen
– this is an en dash
— this is an em dash
All this being said, is this whole topic passe or do you think it really is good for writers to make sure to use these punctuation marks properly?
According to this piece, the official way to create en and em dashes is like this:
In any software program that handles text, the em dash can be typed on an enhanced keyboard as Alt + 0151—that is, hold down the “alternate” key and type, using the numerical pad on the right side of the keyboard, the numbers 0151. The en dash can be typed as Alt + 0150.