English Typography Course Beginner 2: Use hyphens, spaces, and dashes properly


Multi-including the English Language to the typesetting, we different from the Japanese typesetting that is in contact with everyday Language there are rules and precautions. In the second lesson of the "English Typography Course", we will introduce the mistake points that are often written in English following the last time. This time we will talk about how to properly use elements such as-(hyphen) and space.

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*The images introduced here are non-existent images that we have prepared to give you an easy-to-understand example.

Compound words with various patterns

Originally, two or more independent words are combined to form one word, which is called a compound word. In Japanese, words like "waiting time" and "video camera". The composition of English compound words is the same, but the notation method depends on the word, such as whether to connect with a hyphen or to insert a space or not. Below are some examples of compound words.

teleconference (tele-conference and tele conference are incorrect)
mixed-use (mixeduse, mixed use is incorrect)
home office (homeoffice, home-office are incorrect)

In addition, the presence/absence of hyphens and the presence/absence of spaces may change depending on the presence of the surrounding words.


two-thirds (2/3)

a half hour (30 minutes)
a half-hour lecture
at six thirty (at 6:30)

In addition, hyphens and spaces may or may not depend on grammatical rules.

eleven (11)
twenty-eight (28)
two hundred thirty-two (232)

Iam a fifty-nine-year-old. (I am 59 years old)
He is five years old. (He is 5 years old)

in the twentieth century
twentieth-century art

As you can see, it is a little complicated to use hyphens/spaces, so be sure to check the dictionaries and actual examples.

English dash and Japanese full-width dash are different

What is the difference between dash and hyphen in English?
The usage may differ depending on the person, but one example is given below.

Hyphen (-): Word concatenation.
Example: north-northwest

Short en dash (–): Range.
Example: an east–west avenue

em dash (—): Break text.
Example: My power? Alas, I doubt—

2-em dash (——): Text break.
Example: How lush——glass looks!

3-em dash (———): Abbreviation when references from the same author are listed.
Example: Ruskin, John. Lectures on Art,.. ..
———. Aratra Pentelici: Six.. ..

In addition, Japanese double-byte dashes and voicing may be used for English sentences, but this is also important. It has a high vertical position with English, and it is too long to be used as a hyphen, so it does not match English characters.

This image is an example of putting a Japanese dash (-) in place of an English hyphen. Thousands of Weight and width do not match, and height does not match the position of lowercase letters, which gives a sloppy impression.

Same horizontal line... but each function!

This time, I talked about the difference between hyphen and space usage in English, and how to use hyphen and dash properly. Since it looks similar, it is easy to misuse it without realizing it. Let's make it possible to check using actual English sentences as a reference.

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