The Thomas Hardye School

Weekly Literacy Focus

Week Twenty Five

March 27th 2017


Hyphens and dashes



It’s easy to get confused between the hyphen (-) and the dash (–).

The Hyphen
Where should the hyphen be put to make these clearer?:

30 odd members
Old furniture dealer
A little known city
Recovered the sofa

David Crystal describes the hyphen as "the most unpredictable of marks." It can however remove ambiguity from a sentence (see examples above).
A hyphen is the shorter mark that is often used to link two or more words together. It can also be seen at the end of a line to break up a whole word that won’t fit into the space.

Some hyphenated words:
user-friendly                 up-to-date           jump-start           well-known 
back-to-back                part-time             next-to-last         short-term

The Dash
The Dash is the longer line used as punctuation in sentences – often instead of a comma or brackets.  
Trump won the election—granted, Clinton got the popular vote—but he won.

Geeky fact

There are actually two types of dash, the en-dash and the em-dash. The en-dash is the shorter version of the dash, named en-dash as it should be the same length as the letter ‘n’.
To insert an en-dash, try typing:     1993 then space, then - then 1995 then space. It will convert to 1993 – 1995.

To insert an em-dash, type ‘Something’ then --, then ‘Something’ again with no gaps, Word will automatically change it to Something—Something.


Here’s a good clip on hyphens and dashes targeted at young children

Here’s the link to the blog post:



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To see other activities click on a title


Apostrophes for Omission


Exclamation Marks

Question Marks

Semi Colons



Inverted Commas


Comma Splicing




A lot is two words


Short and long Vowels

Magic E


Plurals ending in Y

i before e

Homophones 1

Homophones 2

it and it's