Siliconchips Services Ltd.

What’s the deal with dashes?

En dash, em dash, hyphen–when do you use them? Which one do you use? How on earth can you tell them apart? If you’re not a professional copyeditor, you might never have considered the need to use more than one kind of dash.

While the wrong dash is more of a technical error than a content error, it’s important to the overall impact of the manuscripts’ presence that the dashes are done correctly.

The first dash to discuss is the en dash. This workhorse connects ranges such as dates or numbers and carries with it a general meaning of ‘to’ or ‘through.’ So, 2010 to 2012 would correctly be written as 2010­–2012, not 2010—2012 (em dash) or 2010-2012 (hyphen). There are several ways to type in an en dash:

  1. Press the ‘Ctrl’ and ‘-’ keys simultaneously.­
  2. Go to the Insert tab in Word and look to the far right. Click ‘Symbol’ and then ‘more symbols.’ When the window opens, click ‘subset’ and pull the menu down to select general punctuation. There you will find hyphens, em dashes and en dashes. Click the appropriate dash and then hit the ‘insert’ button.
  3. Utilize the character codes for each individual type of dash. These codes can be found when you click on the character of choice in the symbol window using the preceding instructions. Find instructions for this method from Microsoft here:

Joining compound words, the hyphen is the dash we were all taught in school. This is the shortest of the three dashes and the one most commonly used. If we’re discussing state-of-the-art technology, the hyphen is what holds the phrase together. It can also help clarify how a word is to be understood:

Tom, you need to recover the couch.

Tom, you need to re-cover the couch.

Does Tom need to pick up the couch from the neighbors’ party? Or does the couch need new fabric to get rid of that nasty 90’s floral? The hyphen—located on your keyboard—needs no shortcuts to type, which is likely why it’s so overused. Used properly, it clarifies the authors’ meaning easily.

The em dash might be the most powerful of the three dashes discussed here. It can take the place of commas, parenthesis, or colons and can be used to add emphasis right where the author wants it. Consider the following examples:

The jury came back with the verdict—guilty.

My order arrived—three months late—and was immediately put to use.

The em dash can convey tone and emotion by the placement of emphasis, and makes the content it brackets stand out. The longest of the three dashes, it’s typically the width of a capital ‘M.’ You can type the em dash using options 2 and 3 above, or by typing ‘ctrl’ and ‘alt’ and ‘-’ simultaneously.

Using em dashes (—), en dashes (–), and hyphens (-) correctly can bring your writing to the next level and give it a polished professional look. Precision in punctuation is pleasing to the eye and makes your work easier to understand; something every author can aspire to.

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Umesh Nair

International Executive with focus on Global Growth -20 years working experience in Germany, Singapore, India,Asia, Middle East, Switzerland, Europe across a cultural multi-functional environment.

Specialties: Business Strategy & International partnerships, Global Alliances network in Startup, Technology,Airlines, Aviation, Travel, online travel, E-commerce Business, Luxury Retail, BPO, b2b, ERP Software BusinessDevelopment – Sales, Go to Market, Growth Specialist, Incubation, Entrepreneur in Residence, Senior ClientPartner, Consulting, Market Research – Coleman Research, Lynk Global, Guidepoint, Insight Alpha, GersonLehrman Group.

Mr. Manoj Mehta

Mr. Manoj Mehta, is a Science Graduate and a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), practicing as a Chartered Accountant since 1984. He had the great opportunity to complete his article training with M/s. S.V.Ghatalia & Co. (now part of E&Y, one of the big four Consulting Firms in India).

He has got vast experience of 40 years in the profession. His core strength is in the field of Finance, as a Corporate Advisor to public, private and multinational companies in the field of financial planning, raising debt and equity, structuring,  etc. His forte is strategic business and financial planning, compliances, deployment of funds, optimum utilization, budgeting, Preparation and analyzing of qualitative Project feasibility reports, anything and everything related to advising on financial decision making.

He holds trusteeship of a few charitable trust to show his philanthropy side.

He has held leadership roles and has been in the forefront in articulating values and beliefs in a team building approach.

Paul Evans

Dr Paul Evans has a long career in publishing in STM and business sectors since graduating from Oxford University and first working as a computer programmer. He worked for Reed Elsevier in a variety of roles for nearly 25 years (in UK, Netherlands and China) up to, in later years, Senior Vice President at the global headquarters in Amsterdam. He then became Managing Director for SAGE Publishing’s Asia Pacific company at its hub in Singapore for 7 years, doubling its size and performance. Latterly he was for three years Director of Nature Research China with Springer Nature in Shanghai and an adviser to the Chinese government for his industry, and then on return to the UK during Covid he has worked for Maverick Publishing Specialists as a consultant and Charlesworth Publishing Services as Director of Partnerships.

He has also taken a strong interest in education initially as a teacher in Japan, as a lecturer and course leader in Publishing Studies at a Scottish university, and now in working in UK education areas.

Bharath Ramadoss

Head of Production and Operations, has been with Siliconchips since 2015. In his time with us, he has managed a team of dedicated and experienced production team members, both in books, journals development.

A graduate of University of Madras, Bharath has a strong experience in quality, complex workflows in the publishing industry. His skill set includes e-publishing, project and team management, XML and HTML, content development, workflow improvement, and now working closely with technology team and developing various tools and platforms.

He enjoys cricket, and you will find him playing every Saturday.

Becca Mosher

Becca Mosher, US Editorial Project Manager, helped to develop the Siliconchips editorial department in 2015, and her team continues to grow. A graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Missouri – Columbia, Becca has been in the publishing industry since 2007, where she has specialized in e-book project management, editorial management, and editing in a wide variety of styles at all levels, from proofreading to developmental editing. She is proficient in several languages and adept at client relations.

An avid board gamer, Becca teaches different games at a “Learn to Play” night once a week.

Abhijit Pathre

Abhijit Pathre, our Director of Account Management, manages data, accounts, delivery and operations, and maintains client relationships. He is highly experienced in the technology field and possesses excellent communication and problem-resolution skills; prior to joining Siliconchips Services, he was with Hutchison Global Services, working in 3G, and Goldshield Business Solutions, a UK-based Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm.

He leads with a humbleness that compels the team to follow his direction. His firm commitment and his vast fifteen-year experience spanning various industries contribute to his essential role as a member of the Siliconchips Services team in India.

Shahid Chowdhary

Shahid Chowdhary began Siliconchips Services in London in September 2010, with one basic idea: to build an organisation committed to value-based leadership and promoting a culture of trust, transparency, integrity and mutual respect.

Shahid received his graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from NIT Srinagar and his post-graduate in Marketing and Finance from NMIMS, Mumbai – both leading engineering and business schools in India and he was certified by Baan in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). He has acquired numerous professional qualifications in innovation, strategy and leadership development throughout his career, including Leadership Management Institute (LMI) in the US and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) in London. Over the years he has worked with various multinational companies in India, the US and the UK, including engineering, software development and publishing companies.

Shahid is the driving force behind Siliconchips Services; he focuses on new markets, business development, human resources development and planning for the continued growth of the company. He unites his teams across borders, and encourages a cohesive working community to give our clients a professional and pleasant experience with Siliconchips Services.

Over the weekends, Shahid spends time with his two daughters, practicing martial arts, and volunteering at the stables for his love of horses.