Dashes and Hyphens between Dates (with Examples)

by Craig Shrives
This Page Includes...

Dashes between Dates and Numbers

The dash is used between ranges. These are often date ranges. For example:
  • Between times: 1200–1600 correct tick
  • Between times: 6 am–8 am correct tick
  • Between days: Monday–Friday
  • Between dates: 12–15 October correct tick
  • Between months: June–August correct tick
  • Between years: 1967–1969 correct tick
The dash can be used for any range. For example:
  • Pages 2–4 correct tick
  • 100–150 people correct tick
Your readers will assume that these ranges are inclusive (i.e., that the ranges include the values that bound the ranges).

Don't Use "From" or "To"

Don't use the word "from" or "to" if you're using a dash to show a range. If you're not using a dash, then you can use "from" and "to." Don't mix these conventions.
  • Lunch break is 1200–1300. correct tick
  • Lunch break is from 1200 to 1300. correct tick
  • Lunch break is from 1200–1300. wrong cross
dashes or hyphens in dates and ranges

Avoid Using Spaces

Avoid putting spaces around your dash. This is not a ruling. It is, however, good practice because when you use spaces, your autocorrect will often try to help you by changing your short dash (especially if you've decided to use hyphens) to an em dash (a longer dash, the length of an uppercase "M"). As autocorrect is inconsistent with this "help," you often end up with a mix of en dashes (a shorter dash, the length of a lowercase "n") and long dashes between your ranges.

Using no spaces at all stops autocorrect trying to help you (as it waits for a space before it looks at what you've just typed), and using no spaces also eliminates inconsistencies with spacing. Here's a scruffy example:
Here's a tidier version:
Read more about hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes.

It's Safe to Use Hyphens in Ranges

Hyphens are not meant to be used for ranges (e.g., 10-12, 1967-1971). Dashes are used for this purpose. However, given that the hyphen is so easy to find on a keyboard, hyphens have become acceptable for ranges. Only a strict grammar pedant would pull you up for using a hyphen in a range. If this were to happen, you could make a good case for the pedant being out of date. Read more about using hyphens.

Getting a Dash

If you're using a text editor (like Microsoft Word) on your desktop PC, you can get the different dashes via your keyboard's numeric pad.
NamePunctuationHow To Get One
em dash Ctl + Alt + minus (on the numeric pad)
minus sign minus (on the numeric pad)
en dash Ctl + minus (on the numeric pad)
hyphen- - (the key to the right of "0")

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