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The big difference between a hyphen and an em dash

Most people don't realize that there is a big difference between a hyphen and an em dash. An em dash is the long dash (the width of the capital letter M, hence the name) used to illustrate a break in a thought or idea. A hyphen is the familiar dash used to join related words or parts of words. Back in the days of the typewriter, a double hyphen was used to stand in for the em dash. Word 2000 can be set up to insert em dashes for you whenever you type a double hyphen. Select Tools, AutoCorrect and click the AutoFormat As You Type tab. Select the Symbol Characters (--) With Symbols (--) check box, then click OK, and all your future double hyphens will become em dashes automatically.

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