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Punctuation—Where, When, Why, and How to Use It

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En dash
An en dash is the approximate size of the letter “N.” There is no space before or after it. An en dash should never be used as a substitute for an em dash.

Usage
1. Dates

Example: 1981–1984

2. As a replacement for “to” or “up to and including” (If from is used, the en dash can’t be used and to must be used. If between is used, and must be used.)

Example: Read pages 85–115 in your textbook tonight.

3. To indicate something ongoing

Example: Jason Jones (1970–) is living in Wyoming. (Indicates he was born in 1970 and is still living.)

4. En dash in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one or more of its elements is an open compound or when two or more of its elements are hyphenated compounds

Example: a quasi-public–quasi-judicial body

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7 comments

I felt like I was back in English class! These were great refreshers, some rules I wasn’t even familar with!

Thank you for the refresher course. I am a casual writer and probably break these rules frequently. It must drive you crazy!

I was always told never to put a comma before the word ‘and’ so it’s interesting to learn that’s not always the case!

I think I need to go back to English class!! I have to! lol. This helped me to remember this important things

This topic can’t be communicated enough! It is crazy how many mistakes are made… (I don’t exclude myself here :))

Thank you for sharing! It is so useful. I thought i was good at punctuation but realise i get confused with semi-colons and don’t know the other uses for others x

After leaving school,I have never really payed attention to the way i write and all the grammar rules. But ever since I have started writing again, I feel like I need to go to the library to get back all those grammar rules books. So thanks for this post, it helped me a lot.

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