Chicago Style Workout 62: Dashes

Closeup of a glass saltshaker lying on its side next to its metal screw-top lid, salt spilling out onto the table.

A Dash of En and Em

Dashes—specifically, en dashes and em dashes—are like hyphens, but longer. And though there’s some overlap in how hyphens and dashes are used, dashes play a role all their own.

To find out more—or to test your dash knowledge—take the quiz.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual (cited in most of the answers). (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Style guides sometimes disagree. Except for a few details that can be readily verified in standard dictionaries and encyclopedias, the answers in this quiz rely on the information in the 17th edition of CMOS.

Chicago Style Workout 62: Dashes

1. Each of the following marks is in the same font and size. Assuming that one of them is a hyphen and another is an em dash, which one is most likely to be an en dash?
2. In Chicago style, an en dash most often means
3. CMOS recommends an en dash for a phrase like “pre–Jazz Age recordings.” Why?
4. Some style guides—notably the AP Stylebook—do not recommend using an en dash, even in number ranges. Which character is used instead?
5. An en dash is represented with the same character as a minus sign.
6. The em dash gets its name from
7. Em dashes can be used as an alternative to
8. An editor or proofreader working with pencil on paper would write an em dash as
9. In ordinary prose styled according to CMOS, an em dash might appear immediately next to any of the following marks except one. Which one is that?
10. Some styles call for en dashes instead of Chicago-style em dashes, but with a space on either side – like that.


Top image: Salt, by Sue Thompson, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

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