En dash or - sign? / use en dash

hello people,
i have a question on the use of the N dash, –
I read about it in an artikel http://www.alistapart.com/articles/emen/
but it did not answer my question.
the en dash is used to connect thing. like: New York-Boston.
But, if you need to mark up: sun- and weekdays, or € 30,– would i also use the N dash or simply the key next to the 0 on the keyboard?(the minus sign)

Actually how important is it to use an N dash with regard to non Western browsers? Would they really not be able to ‘translate’ the minus sign on my keyboard? You also do not have to use the special character sign for a dot. or a komma ,

thanks for any insight!!

jo-ann

It depends upon how strict you are about grammar and typography. Obviously if you are using an encoding like UTF-8 you can input them directly. Normally I wouldn’t bother using the en or em dashes - but to some people it is important.

Also your keyboard layout may differ from mine but like I said ASCII characters are usually safe bets. Though there is a code-point difference between a ‘minus sign’ [−] entity and the plain [-] key, which a machine will notice.

Decide which styleguide you are following first.

In your examples above:

the en dash is used to connect thing. like: New York-Boston.

Yeah, it’s a range, a distance, and could work as “New York to Boston”, so that’s an en dash.

But, if you need to mark up: sun- and weekdays, or € 30,-- would i also use the N dash or simply the key next to the 0 on the keyboard?(the minus sign)

I use hyphens for those. Compound words have hyphens, and your sun- and weekdays is a hyphen because you are breaking up the word “Sunday”, and breaking up a word is work for a hyphen (or a soft hyphen if the break depends on the edge of the content).
In the euro example, you have two dashes representing the 10ths and 100ths places of eurocents. Most casual writings of it are a single small dash. It’s not a range, so I would think it’s not an en dash (does not represent the word “to”) but I’m pretty unsure of that one.

As Robert said there are different encodings of hyphens. They are explained on this page:

A hyphen should be used between compound words, such as “well-liked”, including when you are linking multiple first words with a single second word, as in “Sun- and week-days” (note that you do need the second hyphen). There should be no space before/after the hyphen, except in the case where you are joining multiple first words with a single second word.

Where the words are not compound, but are being joined together, you should use an n-dash, as in “New York–Boston”. An n-dash should also be used to indicate a range, as in “an 11–18 school”. There should be no space before/after the dash.

If you want to use a dash to indicate a gap between words, in the same way that you might use an ellipses or parenthetical commas, you should not use a hyphen. Technically this should be an m-dash with no spaces before/after (although some house styles do have spaces), but I prefer an n-dash with spaces before and after.

If you want your work to look professional, pay close attention to the typography – that includes using the right kind of hyphen/dash for each situation. There’s no real downside, and for those of us who do care about these matters will give you more credence as someone who understands quality and takes care to get things right.

thanks for all the usefull information, i think i am sorted out now…

When I see this it makes me cringe: $1.00 - $2.00. As already stated ranges should ALWAYS use an en dash rather than a hyphen, ALWAYS.

— ASCI is alt 0515 btw (on the keypad).

I use it a lot with print design, where appropriate. If you have one, get your hands on a copy of your country’s style guide (Government style manual).

I use em dash for breaks— I use one space after them : )

Lawlz.

— ASCI is alt 0515 btw (on the keypad).

Man, I so wish that worked on my computer. I used those all the time when I was a kid using Windows. Now I have to write them all out as hex/HTML and then copy from my browser… annoying.

Why do we need the second hyphen? We don’t normally say week-day (I have seen that in some old books like The Time Machine) so it doesn’t become Sun- and week-day but Sun- and weekday.
(Though surely this differs between styleguides, but in books, magazines, and Chicago StyleGuide the non-hyphenated word remains “closed”)

This rule is used in Dutch too:
op zon- en feestdagen
(on sun- and holidays)

Doesn’t work for me … Alt+0151 gives an m-dash (—) and Alt+0150 gives an n-dash (–).

The second hyphen is needed so that it is clear where to attach the first half-word.

In English, this usage is most common with words that are hyphenated anyway, so it isn’t an issue – it would be unusual to use a construction like “Sun- or week(-)day” where the words aren’t naturally hyphenated.