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Difference between Hyphen and Dash

Difference between Hyphen and Dash

What is the difference between a hyphen and a dash? When do you use each one? In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two punctuation marks, and provide some tips on when to use each one.

What is a Hyphen?

Hyphens are punctuation marks that are used to join words or parts of words. They can be used to join two words ( compound adjectives ) or to break a word up into syllables (to indicate division ). Hyphens are also used in some notation systems, such as in guitar tablature. In English, hyphens are not commonly used at the beginning or end of a word. However, they may be used in certain situations, such as when a prefix or suffix is added to a word (such as “anti-” or “-ed”). Hyphens are also used in some abbreviations, such as “Mr.” or “Dr.” Hyphens are generally not used in formal writing, such as in essays or research papers. However, they may be used in informal writing, such as in email or blog posts.

What is Dash?

Dash is a punctuation mark that is similar to a hyphen. It is used to join words or word fragments, and can also be used to indicate pauses or breaks in a sentence. Dash can be used in different ways, depending on the context. For example, it can be used to introduce lists or create emphasis. In recent years, dash has become increasingly popular in informal writing, as it can add personality and style. However, it is important to use dash sparingly, as overuse can make your writing appear cluttered and unprofessional. When used correctly, the dash can be a powerful tool for adding flair to your writing.

Difference between Hyphen and Dash

Hyphen and Dash are two different types of punctuation marks that are used for different purposes. Hyphen is mostly used to join two words together while the dash is used to separate parts of a sentence or to create a pause. For example, the word ‘co-operative’ is written with a hyphen to show that it is made up of two words, ‘co’ and ‘operative’. On the other hand, the sentence ‘He was – uncharacteristically – late for his appointment’ uses a dash to introduce a pause and to emphasize the word ‘unexpectedly’. Although they are both used for different purposes, both hyphens and dashes can be used to create compound adjectives. For example, the phrases ‘long-term goal’ and ‘hard-working student’ use hyphens to join two adjectives together. In contrast, the sentence ‘The – highly contagious – the virus has spread rapidly’ uses a dash to emphasize the word ‘highly’. As you can see, hyphens and dashes are two punctuation marks that are often confused but serve different purposes in writing.


In business writing, it is important to use the correct punctuation mark when you are setting off a phrase or sentence. The hyphen (-) should be used when you are connecting two words together, while the dash (—) should be used to set off a longer phrase or sentence. It can be confusing to know which one to use in certain situations, but with a little practice, you will be able to make the right choice every time.

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