Grammar for Grownups Quiz 67

How Long is a Dash?

The difference between a dash and a hyphen is length. The hyphen is found on the key just to the right of the zero (and yes, there’s a difference between zero and the letter “o”). The dash is longer and is generated differently on different computers. On my Mac, I hold down SHIFT/OPTION and hit the hyphen/underline key. (On a PC hold down ALT and hit 0151.)

The difference in use is monumental. The hyphen is used between compound word. The dash is used to indicate an inserted comment or clarification to a sentence. Try out these sentences and insert either a dash or hyphen:

  1. Spring cleaning (-, -) oh how I hate it (-, -) starts in April.
  2. There’s no fool like an over(-, -) anxious fool after April 1.
  3. April showers bring May flowers (-, -) or so it’s said.
  4. Apriil (-, -) the saddest month (-, -) brings warm weather.
  5. Enjoy the lazy, hazy, crazy days of pre (-, -) summer.
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