Difference Between the En dash and the Em Dash
The Em Dash is longer than the En Dash. That’s it. That’s all there is to it, EXCEPT when, where, and how to use them.
The principal use of the En Dash is to connect numbers and, less often, words.
Example: Her happiest days, 1980–1985, were when she was teaching.
Example: The London–Paris train leaves in ten minutes.
Okay, we got that. So our discussion today will focus the Em Dashes.
A Definition of the Em Dash we can live with:
The em dash is used in much the way a colon or a set of parentheses is used; it can show an abrupt change in thought or be used where a full stop (period) is too strong and a comma too weak. Em dashes are sometimes used to set off summaries or definitions. Geraldine Woods (2005). Webster’s New World punctuation: simplified and applied. Webster’s New World. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7645-9916-3.
Outlaws of Fiction
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Guidelines For Use of Em Dashes
6. An Em Dash may be used with a question mark or an exclamation point, but never a comma (except in dialogue, see #5). And never use an Em Dash with a colon, or a semicolon, and rarely with a period except in endnotes/footnotes/editor’s notes.
- All at once Clara—can she have been out of her mind?—hauled off and socked Joe in the nose.
- Only if—for Pete’s sake!—you’re lost should you go to the authorities.
For Mac Users
En Dash OPTION+HYPHEN
Other Types of computers
For Macs: ⌥ Opt+- (en dash) or ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+- (em dash)
To prove I love hearing from you, for those who share a comment, your name will be placed into a magic jar. If you comment and link back to my blog from your blog, your name will be placed in the magic jar twice. On November 20, 2014, my alien friend ( or ghost) (or Walk-In) (or whoever is hanging around at the time) will reach into the jar and pull forth a name. That person can claim one of the following:
1. A Wyso/Danny ring handcrafted by my Native American friend, Neal Paquin of Santa Fe, NM, especially designed for my first novella, Wyso and the Other Creepy Kids on Gerard Street. (Picture to be posted soon.)
2. A $20 gift certificate to Amazon via email.
3. My opinion of the first twenty pages of your novel or novella.