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September 11, 2007


Oh Travis, don't get me GOING! (But thanks—I have SERIOUS opinions on the en-dash). The en-dash is best used to connect numbers (where it most commonly means up to and including, or through). For example, "My college years, 1997–2000, were tough but worth it." Note that if "from" starts the construction, "to" should be used instead of the en-dash for parallel construction, and if "between" starts the construction, "and" should replace the en-dash. (Chicago Manual of Style).

In terms of connecting words, the en-dash is best in cases like this: "The Vancouver–Calgary flight leaves soon." I know it's increasingly used in place of the em-dash for interruptions or parenthetical information, usually surrounded by a space on either side (e.g., "His ego – which had grown ever-more inflated since his promotion – was now unbearable"). But I don't like it. I'll use it when forced (e.g., a client preference), but I miss the length of the em-dash, and I find the spaces on either side of the en-dash break my train of thought.

Aren't you glad you asked?

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