Know Your Dashes: A Little Infographic On Hyphens, En-dashes, & Em-dashes

Posted on Posted in Design Mind, Infographics, Just for Fun, Typography

typographic infographic about the proper use on hyphens, em-dahes, and en-dashes

Know Your Dashes

Nothing annoys a graphic designer more (other than, perhaps, the use of double spaces at the start of a sentence) than the improper use of hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes. In fact, many people including those working in the field of graphic design, marketing, and advertising forget—or never learn—the finer differences between these important typographic marks.

This infographic is designed to help teach and remind people writing copy, and/or laying it out, the basic and most common uses for hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes. It is in no means exhaustive to the many uses of these three important but often overlooked bits of punctuation but provides a basic go-by for daily use.

If you would like to learn more about the magic of Em-dashes, En-dashes, and the humble hyphen check out these great sources of punctuation knowledge.

Ode to the em-dash

On a side note—I am completely addicted to em-dashes. I often find myself having to remove as many as 5 from a paragraph. Em-dashes are my typographic guilty pleasure. It is like an excuse to break all the grammar rules that have been forced down our throats since kindergarten—to throw all the colons, semi-colons, and perfectly acceptable commas away and replace them with one single magical symbol that makes all the run-on sentences suddenly OK. Oh, em-dash you are my favorite.

3 thoughts on “Know Your Dashes: A Little Infographic On Hyphens, En-dashes, & Em-dashes

  1. I find en and em dashes infuriating. What happened to good old hyphens, dashes , commas, colons and semi-colons? The em, in particular, breaks the flow of the sentence. However did we live without them?

    1. Well, I have to admit I kind of love my em-dashes—they make all my run-on sentence OK. And, because so few people know how to use them, you get away will a whole lot. On a side note, I low a lot of people who use en-dashes instead so that they can avoid the big gap issue.

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