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Hyphens, En dashes, Em dashes

 

Use a hyphen for certain compound adjectives that precede the modified noun.

            examples:      well-supported hypotheses

                                    nutrient-adjusted media

           

In general, do not use the hyphen if the compound adjective comes after the modified noun.

            example:         The hypothesis was well supported.              

 

Do not use the hyphen when the first word in the compound adjective is an adverb ending in ly.

            examples:      evenly spaced samples

                                    moderately buffered solutions

 

Use an en dash for ranges.

            examples:      pages 55–60

                                    pH 5.1–6.8

                                   

Also use an en dash for compound adjectives if the adjectives are of equal weight.

            example:         the oak–pine forest

 

Use an em dash for parenthetical information or to indicate a sudden break in thought.

            example:         The forest—the largest in North America—was thriving.

                                  

To insert an en dash or em dash in Microsoft Word, go to Insert, Symbol, Special Characters (in pull down menu).