Dashes and hyphens - Graduate Writing Center

Nested Applications
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Dashes and Hyphens


Consider dashes by their lengths: the shortest connect things that are most closely related. 

1. The shortest "dash," known as the hyphen, connects two words like China-based (a compound adjective) or two-thirds (a compound noun).

2. The medium dash, known as the en dash, indicates a relationship between two things or a range of time, distance, or other values: the Giants–Dodgers game, May–September, a Chicago–Toledo flight, pp. 11–12. They also form compound adjectives containing more than two words: Cold War–era technology. En dashes are helpful in resumé writing. 

3. The longest dash, known as the em dash, is usually used in place of parentheses to indicate a though that is tangentially related to the sentence, or sometimes to briefly define terms or give examples. Em dashes can also replace NE commas. Finally, em dashes can also be used to indcate something missing or repeated in a List of References. Examples:

  • I wondered—to myself, of course—how close I was to mastering punctuation.  
  • I wondered, to myself, of course, how close I was to mastering punctuation. 
  • I wondered (to myself, of course) how close I was to mastering punctuation.
     

Dashes and Hyphen Links

GWC - all topics list heading

All-Topics Index


The following index makes searching for a specific topic easier and links to the appropriate place in the sequenced material. We think we have most of them, but please email us at writingcenter@nps.edu if we are missing something!

A-Z content menu

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A

abbreviations

abstracts

academic writing

acronyms

active voice

apostrophes

argument

article usage

assignments, understanding them

audience

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B

body paragraphs

brainstorming

building better sentences tips

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C

capitalization

citations

citation software

citation styles

clarity

clustering

coaching sessions, about

colons

comma splices

commas, FANBOYS

commas, introductory

commas, list

commas, nonessential elements

commas, Oxford

commonly confused words 

compare-and-contrast papers 

concision

conclusions

conjunctive adverbs

coordinating conjunctions

copyright and fair use

critical thinking  

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D

dangling modifiers

dashes

dependent marker words

display equations

double submission of coursework

drafting

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E

editing your own work

editing: outside editors

exclamation points

executive summary

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F

FANBOYS

FAQs

footnotes

fragments

free-writing

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G

gerunds

grammar

group writing

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H

hyphens

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I

ibid.

incomplete sentences

introductions

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J

Joining the Academic Conversation

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L

LaTeX

library liaisons

lists, syntax of

literature reviews 

logic and analysis 

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M

mathematics

memos

methodologies

misplaced modifiers

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N

nominalizations

note-taking

noun clusters

numbers

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O

organization

outlining

Oxford comma

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P

paragraph development 

parallelism

paraphrasing

parts of speech

passive voice

periods

persuasion

phrases and clauses

plagiarism, how to avoid through citations

plain language

polishing

prepositional phrases 

prepositions

pronouns

publishing

punctuation

purpose of research

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Q

questions

quotation marks 

quoting

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R

reading with intent

redundancies                                                                

reference software

reflection papers 

research

research questions

reusing papers

reverse outlining

revision

roadmaps                                            

run-on sentences 

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S

self-citing

semicolons

sentence fragments

serial comma

subjects, grammatical

significance

so-what?

spelling

standard essay structure

STEM/technical writing 

style

subject–verb agreement

subordinating conjunctions

summarizing

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T

technical writing

that vs. which

thesis writing

thesis advisors

thesis process overview

thesis process tips

thesis proposals – common elements                                                     

thesis statements

this, that, these, those

tone, professional

topic sentences 

transitions

types of papers

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U

United States or U.S.?

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V

verbs and verb tense

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W

which vs. that

Why write?

writer’s block 

writing process

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Z

Zotero

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