Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Hyphen and Dash

writingHyphen vs Dash

Each time that we speak, in order to convey a particular thought or idea, there are certain times that we would stop or pause. This is to make sure that the person that we are speaking to understands us. The same thing is true when we convey our thoughts and ideas in a written form. Compared to speaking, there are a number of different symbols that are used in writing, to convey a stop, a pause, or two independent ideas, to form one cohesive sentence or paragraph. Hyphens and dashes are just two of these symbols that are used.

For many people, who are struggling to complete their homework by typing it on the computer, the hyphen and the dash appears to be just a line used to separate certain words or figures within a sentence; with the hyphen being slightly longer than the dash. In some instances, people would often refer to hyphens as dashes, and vice versa. However, ask any respectable editor or writer, and you will be surprised how much the hyphen and the dash differ in terms of its usage, when constructing sentences and paragraphs in the English language.

Technically, the dash is also referred to as the en-dash, while the hyphen is referred to as the em-dash. These technical terms were given based on the length of the line. Traditionally, the hyphen was the same length of the letter ‘m’ on the typewriter, while the dash was the same length as the letter ‘n’ on the typewriter. This is the reason why, when typing two dashes in Microsoft Word, will result in one slightly longer horizontal line separating two words.

When it comes to their usage, the dash is commonly used to indicate a range of numbers. It is also used as a figurative separator to separate two groups of numbers, to make it a lot easier to read. Examples could be telephone numbers, your social security number, and even your credit card number.

On the other hand, the hyphen is used to join two different words in order to create a compound word. It is also used to incorporate an independent clause, or an appositive, within a sentence, in order to separate this from the rest of the sentence. When it comes to numbers, hyphens are commonly used to show a date where the time frame being mentioned is unknown, or it has not yet ended.


1. Both dashes and hyphens are used in composition to indicate a pause, to make the sentence and paragraph a lot easier to understand.
2. The dash is the same length as the traditional letter ‘n’ on the typewriter. The hyphen is the same length as the traditional letter ‘m’ on the typewriter, making the hyphen two times longer than the dash.
3. The dash is used to indicate a range of numbers, as well as to separate a group of numbers, to make them easier to read. Hyphens are used to join words together to form a compound word, separate an independent clause, or appositive, from the rest of the sentence, and to indicate a time frame that is not yet completed.

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  1. i love the article.it’s really convincing.i just want to huge you to improve in your vocal expression.

  2. There are actually three types of lines: the hyphen, en dash and the em dash. They are also three different lengths. Type these on the computer using the dash key and you will see. The em dash is used to separate a thought in a sentence. The em dash and the hyphen ARE NOT the same thing at all.

    Hyphen: Two-timing (next to 0 on keyboard)

    En dash: 2 – 4 (next to 0 too but when you use it properly, it turns it into an en dash)

    Em dash: The year ended on a sad note with one of the most horrific crimes—the slaying of 26 children and teachers—in Connecticut. (next to 0 also but when you hit the dash key twice and use it correctly, it makes it an em dash)

  3. You have to hit the HYPEN key twice to get them em-dash, with no spaces between the words: Jim—Giles

    You have to hit the HYPEN key twice to get the en-dash, WITH spaces between the words: Jim – Giles

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