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Easy Furniture Web Tip 188: Artfully Use En and Em Dashes On Your Web Pages

Furniture World News Desk on 4/3/2014

By Katherine Andes

Today’s tip is a “polishing” tip — something that will help make your web pages look more polished.

I see many websites who use hyphens when there should be dashes.

Hyphens are very short little guys (–). They are mainly useful for hyphenating closely related words and phone numbers. They should not be used when a dash is called for.

There are two types of dashes to use in place of hyphens.

• An en dash about the width of the letter N (–)
• An em dash, about the width of the letter M (—)

You can consult your Help menu in your website’s editor for how to key in the above dashes.

Generally, use the en dash when working with numbers or times.

On Saturdays we’re open 9 a.m. – to Noon.

The em dash should be used for emphasis in place of commas or parentheses.

I especially like em dashes rather than commas for web copy as they put a little more room in the copy — white space — to give the eyeballs a break.

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Notice that I like to put a space before and after the em dashes. That helps with creating more white space and it helps the way the sentence will render on various mobile devices. In print, often there are no spaces before and after.

Of course, don’t overuse em dashes or your page will look strange.

If you want to learn more about when to use these punctuation marks, do a search for “en dash em dash” and you’ll find lots of articles on the topic.

Easy Furniture Web Tip 188: Artful use of en and em dashes will help give your web pages a classier look.

Katherine Andes specializes in web content development and copywriting for SEO — including page customization for storefront and franchise web sites. Visit her website www.AndesAndAssociates.com or phone her at 559.589.0379.
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