How To Do Fix-It Grammar Along With The Writing Program English Punctuation, The Hyphen Is Not a Dash – Part 2

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English Punctuation, The Hyphen Is Not a Dash – Part 2

For some of us, the use of a hyphen vs. the use of a hyphen can be confusing, so with that being said, I would like to summarize the definition and use of a hyphen before we explore the definition and use of a hyphen. In this second of a two-part series, you’ll find a summary taken from my previous writing on the use of the hyphen. Stay with me, this is really helpful.

The dash in summary looks like this (-) and its functions in the English language are to separate, compose or show a connection. Examples of this are:

  1. To divide: As in clarifying the use of numbers. Ask yourself, would you write 23 as twenty three or would you write twenty three? How about 55, would you write fifty five or fifty five?
  2. To combine words or names: To join two or more words or names to make one word or name, as in: powerful, purposeful, self-improvement, editor-in-chief, or Fisher-Johnson.
  3. To show a relationship: As with birth and death dates on a tombstone, obituary, or historical information such as George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), or keeping game scores, Tortoises vs. Hares 14-15.

Now to the dashboard!

The hyphen is surprisingly two hyphens joined together and looks like this (-), more like an extended hyphen (-). The purpose of a dash is to indicate a sudden or unexpected break in the flow of a sentence and its concepts. Note that using a hyphen is very different from using a hyphen, as you will see shortly in the following examples.

There are two types and uses for the hyphen, and they are:

  1. Afterthought: Using the hyphen as an afterthought is used when a thought occurs after the original sentence; after a full stop. So a sentence with hindsight might look like this: “The young girl was running fast like a superhero—or so she thought.” Did you notice the afterthought? It’s “… – or so she thought.”
  2. Parenthetical: Using the dash in parentheses, on the other hand, is an idea or concept placed in the middle of a sentence as if it were in parentheses. So a parenthetical sentence might look like this: “The Grand Canyon—if you’ve never been there—is a once-in-a-lifetime sight.”

So, if you have been confused with the use of hyphen and hyphen, we encourage you to read the previous article about the definition and examples of hyphen and its uses.

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