Em dash, en dash, and hyphen

While these three symbols are quite similar, they each serve a different purpose.

- Hyphen - : The hyphen is mainly to create compound adjectives.

Luna installed state-of-the-art technology in her office.
Stephanie was broken-hearted after her soccer team lost.

- En dash ­­– : this symbol is most often used to indicate a range of numbers or span of time. It is also used to show results or scores.

Please read chapters 4–7 for next week.
The 1992–1993 basketball season was amazing.
I will be in a meeting every Wednesday 11am–12pm.
The Portland Timbers won 3–1.

- Em dash — : his symbol can be used in place of commas, parentheses, or missing letters. Inserting a pair of em dashes may make a sentence appear more clear to the reader.

My sister, who is a lawyer, will help me move tomorrow.
or My sister — who is a lawyer — will help me move tomorrow.

When the em dash is used instead of parentheses, omit any punctuation surrounding the parentheses.

They searched for eggs (very loudly I might add), but didn’t find enough for breakfast.
They searched for eggs — very loudly I might add — but didn’t find enough for breakfast.

The em dash is also inserted when the full word is not desired in the sentence.

Mr. D— — — testified against the mafia on June 15, 2001.

Note: you may need to go into "symbols" or "special characters" in your word processor to access these dashes.