d. Dash

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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 earlybut not too early.

Any of the suitsexcept for the purple oneshould be fine to wear.

Exercise: Clarify the following sentences by adding dashes. In some cases, no dashes are needed.

  1. Which hairstyle do you prefer short or long?
  2. I don’t know I hadn’t even thought about that.
  3. Guess what I got the job!
  4. I will be happy to work over the weekend if I can have Monday off.
  5. You have all the qualities that we are looking for in a candidate intelligence, dedication, and a strong work ethic.


“Dash” was adapted from “13.19: Dashes” of  How Arguments Work – A Guide to Writing and Analyzing Texts in College (Mills), used according to creative commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


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UNM Core Writing OER Collection Copyright © 2023 by University of New Mexico is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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