Hyphen, En Dash, Em Dash

Yesterday I attended an all-day professional writing workshop presented by Jim Hale. Observing through the lens of a web designer/developer, I found several discussions among the group to be pertinent to writing and editing content on the web. The discussion about punctuation was very engaging. In particular, the definition and purpose of hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes struck a chord.

Below are my brief notes on this topic.


Best used for range of dates or hyphenated words.

En Dashes


Outdated once the typewriter was replaced by the word processor. Use hyphen instead.

Em Dashes

Best used for parenthetical expressions. Especially useful for dramatic purposes.

What do you think?

Do you code a dash or hyphen? Or do you not escape this character at all?


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