en dash

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em dash vs. en dash

There are two similar but distinct punctuation marks called dashes: the en dash () and the em dash (). In appearance, an en dash is slightly longer than a hyphen ( - ), approximately the width of a capital N, while an em dash is slightly longer than an en dash, approximately the width of a capital M (hence their names).
When we refer to dashes, we are usually referring to em dashes, as they are the more common punctuation mark of the two. However, it’s important to know the different ways that each mark is used.
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or en dash  (ĕn′dăsh′)
A symbol ( - ) used in writing or printing to connect continuing or inclusive numbers or to connect elements of a compound adjective when either of the elements is an open compound, as 1880-1945 or Princeton-New York trains.

[From its being the width of an n in printing.]

en dash

(ˈɛnˌdæʃ) or

en rule

(Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) printing a dash (–) one en long

en′ dash`

a dash one en long.
em dash, en dash - The em dash is the long dash used in punctuation whose length is based on the width of the letter M; the en dash is shorter (the width of an N) and the hyphen is even shorter.
See also related terms for punctuation.
References in periodicals archive ?
Do you know how the en dash and em dash got their names?
Chapters, paragraphs and sentences of varying sizes and relative lengths, as well as punctuation marks such as the comma, semicolon, en dash, colon, question mark, and full stop are some of the standardised means novelists use to manage their sentences on the surface of the page in creating the narrative impact they sought.
In addition to quotation marks and hyphens, Lahman (2013) proposed that the en dash could help people remember the range of options between false dichotomies.
For example, use a hyphen for well-behaved children in the previous sentence, but use an en dash for Atlanta-Tampa flight.
Houston has infused a seemingly mundane subject with considerable verve & erudition, inspiring us to pepper these pages with the en dash, em dash, pilcrow, interrobang, circumflex, manicule, virgule (aka solidus), guillemet, asterisk, dagger, double dagger, ellipsis, hedera (aka fleuron), ampersand, and octothorpe (aka hashtag).
The en dash ("-" so called because historically--you guessed it--it was the width of a typeset letter "n") should be used, rather than a hyphen, to indicate subtraction or to shown that a numeral is negative (3 - 7 = -4).
The alphabetical fractions that mean "insert em dash" or "insert en dash.
The en dash is used to show continuation, for example, pages 310-12.
An em dash is the width of a capital "M"; an en dash is the width of a capital "N.
Users can visually control the flow of text in their designs by choosing from em dash, em space, en dash, en space, 1/4 em space, optional hyphen, non-breaking hyphen, nonbreaking space, and column/frame break.
dash--a punctuation mark (in MLA format, the em dash--) used variously like a comma, semicolon, or colon; see also em dash, en dash, and hyphen
On a personal note, I was dismayed to find the manual does not point out the distinction between the en dash and the em dash--maybe the authors determined that that was better left to more basic guides, such as Words into type [Prentice-Hall, 1974].