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The meaning of «dash»

The dash is a punctuation mark consisting of a long horizontal line. It is similar in appearance to the hyphen and minus sign but is longer and sometimes higher from the baseline. The most common versions are the en dash –, longer than the hyphen; the em dash —, longer than the en dash; and the horizontal bar ―, whose length varies across typefaces but tends to be between those of the en and em dashes.[a]

Usage varies both within English and in other languages, but the usual convention for the most common dashes in printed English text is as follows:

Glitter, felt, yarn, and buttons—his kitchen looked as if a clown had exploded.A flock of sparrows – some of them juveniles – alighted and sang.

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was fought in western Pennsylvania and along the present US–Canada border (Edwards, pp. 81–101).

Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.

The figure dash ‒ has the same width as a numerical digit; most fonts have digits of equal width. It is used within numbers (e.g., the phone number 555‒0199), especially in columns, for maintaining alignment. In contrast, the en dash is generally used for a range of values.[3] The minus sign (−) glyph is generally set a little higher.

When the figure dash is unavailable, a hyphen-minus is often used instead. In Unicode, the figure dash is U+2012 (decimal 8210). HTML provides no character entity for it; it can be represented by the numeric character reference ‒ or ‒.

In TeX, the standard fonts have no figure dash; however, the digits normally all have the same width as the en dash, so an en dash can be substituted. In XeLaTeX, one can use \char"2012.[4] The Linux Libertine font also has the figure dash glyph.

The en dash, en rule, or nut dash[5] is traditionally half the width of an em dash.[6][7] In modern fonts, the length of the en dash is not standardized, and the en dash is often more than half the width of the em dash.[8] The widths of en and em dashes have also been specified as being equal to those of the upper-case letters N and M, respectively,[9][10] and at other times to the widths of the lower-case letters.[8][11]

The en dash is commonly used to indicate a closed range of values – a range with clearly defined and finite upper and lower boundaries – roughly signifying what might otherwise be communicated by the word "through".[12] This may include ranges such as those between dates, times, or numbers.[13][14][15][16] Various style guides restrict this range indication style to only parenthetical or tabular matter, requiring "to" or "through" in running text. Preference for hyphen vs. en dash in ranges varies. For example, the APA style (named after the American Psychological Association) uses an en dash in ranges, but the AMA style (named after the American Medical Association) uses a hyphen:

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