Published: February 2017
Em dash vs en dash
The em dash (—) is used in replacement of other punctuation such as a comma, colon, or parentheses. It expresses an emphatic pause and is commonly a less formal way to connect two clauses.
Em dash example:
“He is afraid of two things—spiders and senior prom.”
The en dash (–) often indicates a span of time or a range of numbers. It can commonly be read as “to” or “through.” En dashes are also used when the modifier is a two-word phrase.
En dash example:
“The Nobel Prize–winning author will be reading pages 1–25 from her book.”
Bonus: The easiest keyboard shortcut is to press Alt + Shift + Minus for an em dash and Alt + Minus for an en dash.