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Blog  /  01.21.2022

The Writer’s Block: How to properly use hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes

There’s often a fine line between right and wrong. And sometimes that line is a hyphen. Or, is it an en-dash? Wait, it’s an em-dash! To be sure, just follow this little punctuation guide and carry on confidently with your copy.

  1. THE HYPHEN
    A punctuation mark that’s used to join words together. It works as a compound modifier when it comes before a noun.
    Ex: The longest one-syllable word is “screeched.”
  2. THE EN DASH
    A dash that’s generally the width of a capital “N” and used mostly with number and date ranges.
    Ex: The average rate of speech is 100–125 words per minute, but our brains can process up to 800 wpm.
  3. THE EM DASH
    The longest and most versatile punctuation mark. Use it occasionally to replace parentheses, commas, and colons.
    Ex: The 7-38-55 rule says a message’s impact is 7% verbal, 38% vocal, and 55% nonverbal—meaning your audience isn’t as focused on what you said, but rather how you said it.

For more interesting and practical advice when it comes to your business communications, contact FOVNDRY. From media-training workshops to fully integrated campaigns, we’re here to help with all your PR and marketing needs.

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