[Tex/LaTex] Dashes: – vs. – vs. —


This may or may not be a real TeX/LaTeX question but rather a general question on punctuation:

How are the different dashes - "-", -- "–" and --- "—" supposed to be used?

Best Answer

The grammar school version (for English usage) is:

  • - (known as an hyphen) between the elements of compound words
  • -- (known as an en-dash) for ranges (for example, "3–7" means "3 to 7")
  • --- (known as a em-dash) punctuation for digressions in a sentence—though how it differs from a parenthetical comment I have never known—which is why you don't see it much

As Charles notes in the comments, you should probably consult whatever style guide you use (or are required to use) for a more comprehensive and detailed treatment. Especially for the tricky cases.