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Subject: Re: En dash usage in European languages &c
From: Thierry Bouche <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 12 Dec 2005 10:27:19 +0100

text/plain (38 lines)

Le samedi 10 décembre 2005 vers 10:22:12, Mats Broberg écrivait :

M> writers with Swedish as their native language make several mistakes,
M> e.g. using the hyphen instead of the en dash in "from-to" expressions
M> ("10-15 m", "20-25 kg" etc.)

This is the correct form in France. The use of en dash for this in
France is only seen under anglo-saxon pressure.

M> or using the hyphen instead of the en dash in parenthetical 
M> constructions ("Peter - who was now in his 40's - had...").

Of course, people typing in word or with a typewriter often don't bother
to use actual dashes...

Anyway, your question is not something that can be definitely answered,
as there are general rules, traditional ways of doing things, house

The main point regarding this as long as traditional French typography
is concerned, is that there are only 2 objects: one hyphen (division:
compounded words, end-of-line break, figure ranges) and one dash (tiret:
parenthetical constructions, dialogues, lists). The hyphen is used
without space around, while the dash is used with an interword space
except when followed by a comma [the hyphen joins, while the dash
interrupts]. The width of the dash is traditionally one quad, but this
might be actually 3/4 depending on the font.

Of course, in France as anywhere in the world, there is a trend toward
tight spacing, so the en dash's market share is growing. As long as
you're consistent with the dash you chose and you space correctly,
you're doing correct French typography. What is not correct is to have
many dashes endowed with various "meanings".


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