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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "hyphens and dashes")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Add a nonbreaking space}
em{Hyphens and dashes} look similar, but theyre not interchangeable.
A hyphen appears at the end of a line when a word breaks onto the next line. These hyphens are added and removed automatically by your word processors hyphenation feature.
Some multipart words are spelled with a hyphen (em{topsy-turvy}, em{cost-effective}, em{bric-a-brac}). But a prefix is not typically followed with a hyphen (em{nonprofit}, not em{non-profit}).
A hyphen is used in phrasal adjectives (em{commercial-speech restriction}, em{estate-planning attorney}, em{law-school grades}) to ensure clarity. Nonprofessional writers often omit these hyphens. As a profes- sional writer, you should not.
For instance, consider the unhyphenated phrase em{five dollar bills}. Is em{five} the quantity of em{dollar bills}, or are the em{bills} each worth em{five dollars}? As written, it suggests the former. If you mean the latter, then youd write em{five-dollar bills}.
Dashes come in two sizesthe en dash and the em dash. The em dash () is typically about as wide as a capital H. The en dash ( ) is about half as wide.
En and em dashes are often approximated by typing two or three hyphens in a row ( -- or --- ). Dont do that. Use real dashes.
The en dash has two uses.
It indicates a range of values (em{18801912}, em{116 Cal. App. 4th 33039}, em{Exhibits AE}). If you open with from, pair it with to instead of an en dash ( em{from 1880 to 1912}, not em{from 18801912}).
It denotes a connection or contrast between pairs of words (em{conservativeliberal split}, em{ArizonaNevada reciprocity}, em{SarbanesOxley Act}).
Even though the en dash is used for joint authors (em{SarbanesOxley Act}), use a hyphen for compound names. If the children of Sarbanes and Oxley married, theyd be known as em{Mr. & Mrs. Sarbanes-Oxley} (with a hyphen), not em{Mr. & Mrs. SarbanesOxley} (with an en dash).}