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Hyphens or dashes?

fantastika
Ace Contributor
Jim F Member Since: May 24, 2016
1 of 16

Does anyone else use a "space-hyphen-space" in place of a dash?

For example:

 

  • You may think she is a liar - she isn't.
  • She might come to the party - you never know.

However the copyeditor says this should be an "n-dash" or an "m-dash". I don;t have this "dash" character on my keyboard. And I thought it was okay to make a "dash" using the space-hyphen-space. Is the reader going to disparage my book becuase I did not use a dash?   

 

This is a basketball biography, and the copyeditor did other things I thought were strange. She (or He) marked as error sentences like this (copyeditor's suggested correction"s are in bold): :

 

4250 Jackie makes 10-of-11 ten of eleven from the line, on her way to 39 thirty-nine points, as Shawna
4251 pours in 15 fifteen – , 14 fourteen in the second half. (my space-hyphen-space has been  corrected to a comma, but in other places it is corrected to an "n-dash"). 
4252 The Cats roll, 79-52 . (my hyphen is "corrected" to a dash) 

 

If you read a newspaper story about basketball, you will see thst the scores are reported with hyphens, e.g., "Smallville was victorious, 67-66." and individual scoring is reported digitally - Bob Jones scored 12 points" - they don't write "Bob Jones scored twelve points."  Sometime they don;t even write out single digits - "Amber scored 16 and Amy added 6." 

 

I like this publisher becuase I trust them with the finances. They are quite ethical and honest.   

But the copyeditor is adamant - "I'm just following the Chicago Style handbook".   

 

Appareciate your thoughts, especially on hyphens and dashes. Thanks!

 

djondinium
Moderator
Aleksandar D Moderator Member Since: Mar 23, 2019
2 of 16

Hi Jim,

 

Could you please send me a private message with more information about your concern so that I can check?

Please note that Upwork’s Terms of Use provide that you cannot use a profile picture that misrepresents your identity or represents you as someone else. You can check this help article for more information.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Untitled
fantastika
Ace Contributor
Jim F Member Since: May 24, 2016
3 of 16

Aleksandar D wrote:

Hi Jim,

 

Could you please send me a private message with more information about your concern so that I can check?


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

"more information about your concern" - What does that mean? 

"so that I can check" Check what? Your authoritative source?

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
4 of 16

Jim, I have just spent quite a lot of time on your question and I wish I hadn't. 

 

Nobody can answer you as to what your copy editor or your publisher's work methods are. I have no idea what was deleted, **Edited for Community Guidelines**. Good luck with your book. 

fantastika
Ace Contributor
Jim F Member Since: May 24, 2016
5 of 16

Is this forum working, or am I being shadow-banned?

andregutierrez22
Moderator
Andrea G Moderator Member Since: Jul 7, 2020
6 of 16

Hi Jim,

 

I can confirm your post is public and visible to all users of the Community.

 

Thanks!

~Andrea
Untitled
fantastika
Ace Contributor
Jim F Member Since: May 24, 2016
7 of 16

Thank you, AG!

 

Wait, now it's downside up! Going most recent to older...

 

 

fantastika
Ace Contributor
Jim F Member Since: May 24, 2016
8 of 16

I am just wondering why the copyeditor (if they are actually a real person, and not a computer algorithm), would, after correcting the same type of, exactly the same error, 10 times in a row, in the first 20 lines of the manuscript, would not notice a pattern. She might say to herself, "Something odd, here - the writer always makes the same type of msitake." Then, get in touch with the writer and discuss, Instead, she plods on through the remaining 10000 lines of the book, marking up 5000 more of the exact same type of "error" Now it's 3 months later, and my book is not back at Square One. It's way behind Square One, becuase I have to recorrect her 5000 "corrections."

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
9 of 16

I've just seen this question in the Chicago forum. I'll be back. 

 

ETA:

So this is what Chicago says about numbers (paraphrased): 

In non-technical contexts the advice is to write whole numbers out in full from zero through to one hundred. 

There is an alternative rule (which is also that of most UK style guides) to write out numbers up to ten and then use numerals. 

 

Chicago also uses numerals for scores as can be seen in a small paragraph on the en dash for scores. "In other contexts, such as with scores and directions, the en dash signifies, more simply, to.

[...] On November 20,1966, Green Bay defeated Chicago, 13–6." (The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition). 

There are two later editions, but I shouldn't think this rule has changed that much. I haven't time to check. 

IHTH

colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
10 of 16

Jim,

Using the en or em dash for the sentences you are describing is a publishing convention in many of the main  US or UK English style guides. Chicago generally favours an em dash for the first two examples. (By the way, in the UW forums, I think you can make an en or em dash, but I can't remember how!) In the UK the convention is generally an en dash.

So: 

You may think she is a liar—she isn't. (Chicago: no spaces)

You may think she is a liar  –  she isn't. (Oxford Style Manuel/Hart's Rules: space on either side of the en dash) 

(If you have no way of inserting this then it is for your editor to do it. However, if must be consistent throughout for this sort of sentence). 

 

Unfortunately, I know nothing about basketball. However, I think you are quite right about the score points. I would not write these out in full (even the low numbers). As to the hyphen, I think in this instance it is perfectly acceptable between scores, but again, just make sure that they are consistent throughout. 

I question the hyphens (at all) in the 10-of-11-from the line. Perhaps 10 of 11 would be better.

The cats roll 79-52. Strictly speaking, this  should be an en dash. But again, the conventions can vary considerably, particularly in journalistic and website styles. What is important is consistency - either a hyphen or an en dash. 

 

If your copyeditor has been told to follow the house rules of your publisher, then they are doing what they have to do. But I would certainly question the writing of numbers out in full in the context of your book. 

 

 

 

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