The Hyphen, the EN and the EM

June 26th 2015 - Typography

Found this great explanation on the difference between hyphens, en and em dashes. Wanted to post for future reference.

A hyphen, -, is used in words made of more than one word (Spider-Man, to-be-determined, fail-safe), or phrasal adjectives that happen before a noun (larger-than-life, over-the-top).

An en dash, –, is used for ranges of numbers, dates, or time (1991–2015, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.). Think of it as a short form for “to” or “through”.

A em dash
, —, is used as a break between parts of a sentence, replacing commas, parentheses, or semicolons. It also attributes quotations:

“You’re a natural-born orator and a good mixer and—Zowie!”
—George F. Babbitt