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en dash

To use the en dash ("short dash") correctly, follow the guidelines below.

Numbers

Use the en dash to join inclusive numbers:

  • pages 9–12
  • 3–7 °C; but -3 to -7 °C [not -3–7 °C]
  • Robertson Davies (1913–95)

Use the en dash to give scores:

  • The Flames beat the Canucks 3–2 in overtime.

Compound expressions

Use the en dash to join the names of two or more places:

  • the riding of Kenora–Rainy River
  • the Québec–Windsor corridor

Use the en dash to attach a prefix or suffix to an unhyphenated compound:

  • We had a ride on a pre–World War II aircraft at the Aviation Museum.
  • Alice Munro is a Nobel Prize–winning author.

Replacement for em dash

A spaced en dash can be used in place of the unspaced em dash to enclose parenthetical material in sentences.

  • Jen’s bike—a brand new, custom-built Rocky Mountain—was stolen over the weekend.

or

  • Jen’s bike – a brand new, custom-built Rocky Mountain – was stolen over the weekend.

While Oxford University Press (like most American publishers) prefers the unspaced em dash, the spaced en dash is the norm in other major British publishing houses (including Cambridge University Press and Penguin).

The spaced en dash is also strongly recommended by Canadian typographer Robert Bringhurst in his widely acclaimed work The Elements of Typographic Style.