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  1. minnie.me
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    minnie.me New Member

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    En dash for number spans

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by minnie.me, Oct 15, 2009.

    Hello all,

    Is there a rule about using en dashes for number spans when the numbers are spelt out, or if is there's a combination of spelt out numbers and digits used? (E.g. two-four, eight-12.) Something tells me this example is wrong. My instinct would be to write: two to four, eight to 12, 14-18, etc.

    I've searched through all my books (and the net) and can't find the answer anywhere!

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    Offhand, I can give you this via Wikipedia:

    "The n-dash is used in ranges, such as 6–10 years, read as "six to ten years".

    In Canada, The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing, The Oxford Canadian of Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation, Guide to Canadian English Usage [Second Edition], Editing Canadian English Manual, and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary all specify NO SPACE before or after n-dashes when they are inserted between words, a word and numeral, or two numerals."
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's an example: "Twenty-nine children aged eight to ten years had no cognitive..." No en dashes for number spans.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    in creative writing, you need to spell out a numerical range, not use numerals...

    so the en dash issue is moot, unless you're asking about technical writing and other kinds of work besides 'creative'...
     
  5. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    Not necessarily– large numbers make spelt-out versions quite awkward, don't you think, no matter what kind of writing is being pursued?
     
  6. minnie.me
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    minnie.me New Member

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    Yes, I'm asking about non-creative writing. Sorry, should have specified.
     
  7. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    Frankly, I would expect 'creative writing' to allow a lot more leeway than the more mundane kinds.
     
  8. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    Yeah I agree with you on that one.

    Also: you're in Yokohama? I'm in Japan too!
     
  9. Mister Micawber
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    Mister Micawber Member

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    Small world.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i was referring only to a 'number range' similar to what the op was asking about... larger, more complex numbers can be done in numerals, even in 'creative' writing, as they can in any other kind...

    but in dialog, they all must be spelled out, as we speak in words, not numerals...

    minnie...
    if you're writing a report, or a news item, or something similarly 'non-creative' then you should consult the appropriate guide:

    CMS for journalism
    MLA for scholarly works, research papers
    APA for social sciences
     

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