Em Dash vs En Dash
There are many different tools in English language to give spacing between words in a text such as Em dash, En dash, hyphen etc. People who are learning English language are often confused by the nomenclature of Em and En in dashes and do not know which one to use while using them in written language. In fact, there are many who do not know the difference between Em dash and En dash and, therefore, make mistakes while writing English text. This article explains the difference between the two dashes to enable readers to make correct usage of these tools for spacing.
Em dash is a type of dash which is used for punctuation in English language. The reason why this dash is called Em dash is because of the letter M in the keyboard of a computer. This dash has a length equal to the width of the letter M thus being called an Em dash. The thing to remember is that no spaces are to be given before and after the Em dash in written language. This dash is used sparingly in formal language though it is used frequently in informal writing. Em dash is used in a sentence when one wants to give a long pause. It looks like an afterthought in a sentence where it is used.
En dash is a kind of punctuation that is longer than hyphen but much shorter than Em dash. It gets its name from the letter N on the keyboard as its width is same as that of small n on the keyboard. It is commonly used when writing date ranges were it means up to and including. Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901) was marked by long and tight dresses for women. The same En dash is also used to describe number ranges such as age range. Numbers that connote a range are spaced using En dash.
What is the difference between Em Dash and En Dash?
• Both Em dash and En dash are types of dashes not to be confused by hyphen. Both are punctuation marks.
• Em dash is longer than En dash, exactly double the size of En dash.
• The name of Em dash comes from the letter m on the keyboard whereas the name of En dash comes from the English letter n on the keyboard. It is clear to everyone that m has a thickness double that of n.
• Em dash is used to give pause or long break in a sentence. It gives the impression of an afterthought.
• En dash is used where numbers are used to denote a range.