Hyphens and Dashes in Numbers

Hyphen or Dash?

Writers are often unsure whether to use a hyphen (-) or a dash (–) in numbers and dates.

The Quick Answer

Use a hyphen, unless you're giving a to–from range.
  • We lived there 1971–1974.
  • (This is a dash, not a hyphen.)

Table of Contents

  • Hyphens in Numbers
  • Dashes in Numbers
  • Test Time!

Hyphens in Numbers

Hyphens are used in numbers:

(1) When writing numbers in full

  • two hundred thirty-two correct tick
  • ninety-six correct tick
Note: Hyphenate all numbers between 21 and 99 (less those ending 0, e.g., 50, 60).

(2) When writing fractions in full

  • one-third correct tick
  • two-thirds correct tick
  • three-fifths correct tick

(3) When dividing long numbers (e.g., serial numbers, telephone numbers)

  • 555-1234-1234 correct tick
  • X1G44-4453E-QW334-QPLO4 correct tick
hyphens in numbers

Dashes in Numbers

Dashes are used between numbers to show ranges. For example:
  • 0800–0900 hrs correct tick
  • 2014–2020 correct tick
  • 10–15 minutes correct tick
  • 100–120 staff correct tick
dashes in numbers and dates
These are en dashes (the same length as a lowercase "n"). They are shorter than em dashes (the same length as uppercase "M"). Read more about dashes with date ranges. Read more about dashes in numbers.
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.