A hyphen (-) has no space before or after it: semi-detached. A dash (–) has a space both before and after it: It worked – but only for a short time. Brackets () must come in pairs: (in other words, one at the beginning and one at the end). Writing Tip Hyphens are not used these days as much as they used to be, but there are certain times when you should use one. Brackets and dashes can be used effectively in academic work to separate information in sentences. Hyphens You should use a hyphen: between parts of an adjective formed from two or more complete words: middle-aged user-friendly customer-driven after certain prefixes: e.g. semi-, ex-, counter-, e-, self-: semi-detached ex-colleague counter-productive e-commerce self-conscious with co- if referring to people: co-author co-founder (but note that, over time, hyphens have been dropped from some words, such as semicircle and countermeasure) for words consisting of a number and another word: a three-stage process for an age used as an adjective: a 40-year-old man BUT 40 years old in phrases beginning well and with certain other phrases, only if they are used before a noun: state-of-the-art equipment up-to-date information well-planned courses long-term solutions BUT: The equipment is state of the art./Keep up to date with all the latest information./A club that is well known for its friendliness./A plan that might work in the long term.
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