Difference between hyphen, en dash, and em dash and how to use them correctly

Find out the difference between hyphen, en dash, and em dash and clear your confusion about their usage.

For most, mastering English grammar is hard not because of it being a foreign language, but because of its various intricacies. Dashes and hyphens are such intricacy of English grammar that often confuses people due to its different variations and uses. Dashes themselves can be of two types, the En and Em dash.

Here’s an explanation of the difference between a hyphen, En dash, and Em dash with examples to help you understand.

Hyphen (-)

A hyphen is a punctuation mark that is used to connect compound words or parts of words to demonstrate that they have a joint meaning or that they are connected in the sentence’s grammar.

Examples of hyphen in a sentence

  • I need an ice-cream to cool off in this weather!
  • The truck driver was driving very recklessly.
  • Will you mind if I ask some follow-up questions?

En dash ()

Often confused with a hyphen, the en dash is typically the width of the capital letter ‘N’ and is used to describe the time between numbers to signify what is included between the numbers, including the numbers themselves(example: 19301940).