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A dash (—) is a punctuation mark used to set off information in a sentence for emphasis. You can enclose text between two dashes, or use just one dash. To create a dash in Microsoft Word, type two hyphens together. In Google Docs, go to the Insert: menu and choose "Special Characters." Then type "dash" into the search box and select a dash. You can also set your preferences in Google Docs to replace two hyphens with a dash.
Do not put a space between dashes and text. The examples below show correct uses of the dash.
- Arrive at the interview early—but not too early.
- Any of the suits—except for the purple one—should be fine to wear.
Clarify the following sentences by adding dashes. In some cases, no dashes are needed.
- Which hairstyle do you prefer short or long?
- I don’t know I hadn’t even thought about that.
- Guess what I got the job!
- I will be happy to work over the weekend if I can have Monday off.
- You have all the qualities that we are looking for in a candidate intelligence, dedication, and a strong work ethic.
Adapted by Anna Mills from Writing for Success, created by an author and publisher who prefer to remain anonymous, adapted and presented by the Saylor Foundation and licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.