Ever wondered what en dashes are or how to use them in your writing? In this post, we explain everything you need to know about the en dash.\r\nWhat Is an En Dash?\r\nAn en dash (\u2013) is a punctuation mark. It is longer than a hyphen (-) and shorter than an em dash (\u2014). You\u2019d be forgiven for confusing these three marks, but they differ in length and what they\u2019re used for.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_42908" align="aligncenter" width="424"] Hyphens and dashes.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nLet\u2019s look at the different uses for en dashes.\r\nSpans of Numbers\r\nWe can use en dashes to show a span or range of numbers:\r\nThe years 1983\u20131990 saw several policy changes.\r\nStudents aged 12\u201316 can enter the national poetry competition.\r\nIf you introduce a range with the word \u2018from\u2019, you should use the word \u2018to\u2019 instead of an en dash to keep the construction parallel. Likewise, if you use \u2018between\u2019 to introduce a range, you should use \u2018and\u2019 in place of an en dash:\r\nWe lived there from 2001 to 2005. \u2713\r\nBetween 1890 and 1920, he worked in a mill. \u2713\r\nWe lived there from 2001\u20132005. \u2717\r\n\r\nBetween 1890\u20131920, he worked in a mill. \u2717\r\n\r\nScores\r\nWe can also use an en dash to show scores or the results of contests:\r\nIt was a close match between Brazil and France, ending 4\u20133.\r\nConflict and Connection\r\nEn dashes can also indicate a conflict or connection between two things:\r\nThe China\u2013US trade war has escalated in recent years.\r\nTrust is fundamental in the doctor\u2013patient relationship.\r\nSome people use a forward slash similarly (e.g. doctor\/patient relationship). But since a slash also means 'or' (e.g. Dear Sir\/Madam = Dear Sir or Madam), you should stick to en dashes to show a relationship.\r\nCompound Adjectives\r\nWhen forming compound adjectives, an en dash can be used instead of a hyphen if the compound adjective contains another open or hyphenated compound. This makes it clear that all words in the adjective are connected:\r\nThat antique shop sells some pre\u2013World War II maps of Europe.\r\nShe had a Mother Theresa\u2013like commitment to helping others.\r\nParenthetical Statements\r\nEn dashes can be used like brackets to set part of sentence apart from the surrounding text. When you use en dashes in this way, you will usually want to add a space on either side of each en dash:\r\nHe didn\u2019t eat vegetables \u2013 not even potatoes \u2013 and wasn\u2019t about to start.\r\nIn American English, people tend to use em dashes instead for this purpose. If you are using a style guide, then, make sure to check which type of dash it suggests using for parenthetical statements.\r\nProofreading for Punctuation\r\nUsing punctuation correctly in your writing is important for clarity and readability. And if you\u2019d like a little extra help to avoid punctuation mistakes, our proofreaders are available 24\/7!