Again, I am off on a tangent. This is actually a tangent of a tangent (so I am way off course!). If you care about typefaces and the look of your text communications on your computers and smart-phones, as I do, then you probably feel constrained by the limited typewriter character set in your electronic communication. Finding the exact character to look and act like you want can distinguish and beautify your communiqués. It turns out that things have evolved a bit since the typewriter days and, though keyboards doesn’t show this, there are a bunch of other standard characters that are available; double-quotes (“ and ” vs.
"), single-quotes (‘ and ’ vs.
'), ellipsis (… vs.
... —which saves also save you two characters in limited-length messages such as tweets and text-messages), and the topic of today’s post, dashes: hyphens (-), en-dashes (–), and em-dashes (—). I simply want to be able to enter these characters to make my messages look better, without a lot of tedium.
As tangents go, this led to more tangents; but here, I will try to distill these meanderings to something digestible and useful. So, first, a little about dashes then some howtos to enter the one you want on computers, tablets, and smart-phones you’re using
Dash, Dashes, and More Dashes
It turns out that dash/hyphen, en-, and em-dashes not only look different, they have different meanings. Reading through the Wikipedia’s “Dashes” entry reminds me of one of my peeves: when composing a document’s formatting, apply semantic formatting independent of how you want it to look (and address the look of the elements separately)—do not format content based on how you want it to look. (But I digress again…). Continue reading Be a Little More Dashing in Your Text Communiqués