Half square

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Punctuation marks
Comma, comma ,
Semicolon, semicolon ;
Colon, colon :
Point .
Ellipsis ...
Focus ·
bullet point
Question mark ?
Exclamation, exclamation, call signs !
Apostrophe, apostrophe '
- - Hyphen ; Hyphen ;
Supplementary line
Indent ; Up line -
quotation marks"" »«  /  «»
‚'› ‹  /  ‹ › 
Slashes / \
Brackets () []

The half square (-), also long dash , is a horizontal line in typography that is half square long. He is as indent , bis-stroke and distance line as well as monetary amounts used. Other horizontal dashes with which the half-square is often confused are the minus sign , the quarter-square , the square and the double- square , as well as the hyphen minus .



In German-speaking countries, the half-quarter dash is used for the dash . The dash is a punctuation mark (syngraph). It is used to insert an insert within a longer train of thought and thus to identify it.

  • In appositions , parentheses and explanatory insertions as a double (paired) dash - for example in this example - the dash can replace the comma or bracket as a punctuation mark . The dash is used in this role especially when you want to pause for thought while reading . Although in a box set which can lead to difficulties in reading comprehension - - piling the commas, it is wise to mark modules with greater silence with dashes. At the end of the inset, the dash may be followed by a comma. The first word of a sentence enclosed in dashes is written in lower case, there must be no period at the end.
  • But it can also occur individually, then marks a pause between words or within a sentence and announces something that goes further, contradicts or unexpected. "You and I - we belong together", "he opened the door - and was frightened ..."
  • Used instead of a single comma, the dash as can counter pile emphasize a contrast, if the comma is too weak ". You may be right, yes - but I see it quite differently"
  • Instead of a period when the thought of a sentence should be continued. Only nouns are then capitalized. "Nobody expected that - Germany was eliminated."
  • Inserted between two sentences, the dash can clarify a change: the speaker (change of speaker in dialogues), the topic, the thought or the subject of the conversation change. This often replaces a paragraph. Example of a topic change after the sentence terminator: “The accident was a long time ago. - Has one actually ever ... "- Example for a change of speaker:" I'll do it! "-" No, go away! "

For the purposes mentioned - pause for thought, emphasis on a contrast or change - the dash can also be used instead of a colon: "There is nothing good unless - you do it".

The dash can be used as an ellipsis (ellipsis dash) a longer break or ellipse represent: "You do not probably about -", "My God, where am I going to be taken -?"

Are not parts of a sentence, but only parts of words, such as B. in "dash or counter-dash", however, one uses the fourth dash as a supplementary dash .

  • Related to this purpose is the practice of separating the name of the author from that of the work in playlists or other lists of works with a dash: "Die Ärzte - Ihr Helden."

The dash is separated from the surrounding area by a space (or a line break) on both sides . A line break can occur either before or after a dash.

A single dash and the final dash of a pair of dashes do not normally appear at the beginning of the line for reasons of readability. It is often generalized and simplified that, as a matter of principle, no dashes should appear at the beginning of a line. There is also the recommendation not to separate paired dashes from the inset.

If the line break before or after the dash is to be avoided for optical reasons, a protected space can be used, while observing the above recommendations, when using in HTML, for example:

[End of previous text]  – [inset or following text]

in TeX :

[End of previous text] ~--~[inset or following text]

"The more dashes in a book, the fewer thoughts."

- Arthur Schopenhauer : From Arthur Schopenhauer's handwritten estate, Brockhaus 1864, p. 100.

Other languages

In English, the em dash (-) with (very narrow) surrounding spaces (compress) called hair spaces is often used (but these are often left out).

Up line

The half-square is also used as a bis-dash in the notation of intervals such as "37–39". It then stands for the spoken word bis . Only countable ( ordinal ) types and numbers are usual as interval limits (“A – Z” or “0.2–45”).

When using the preposition of , if it corresponds to the following bis , no bis-dash is used, but the word bis is written out. Correct variants are:

  • "Opening times: Mon. - Thu., 10:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m."
  • "Opening times: from Monday to Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m."

On the other hand, it would be wrong to say “Opening times: Monday to Thursday, from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.”.

But you can write:

  • "Children aged 8-12 years",

because here the preposition of itself refers not only to the first number “8”, but to the entire age specification “8–12 years”. You could also say “children at the age of 8” without adding an extension to ; so there is no correspondence between from and to .

Phrases are not abbreviated with the bis dash. It would be wrong: "hardly - not at all" or "bye - soon".

According to Duden, there are no spaces before or after a bis-dash (“3–4 €”).

When using the to-dash between the year, it is usually set without a space: "1961–1989". An exception is the representation between year and day: “13. August 1961 - November 9, 1989 ”.

The standard DIN 5008 "Writing and design rules for word processing", however, requires a space before and after the bis-dash ("€ 3 - € 4" or "€ 3 - 4 €"). However, this is designed for simple typesetting (until 1996 only typewriters); Accordingly, it does not deal with the half-quarter stroke or other common sentence figures such as ligatures or the possibilities of narrower spaces.

Many typographers put a special space or space before and after the bis-bar or create narrow white space in some other way .

If figures underscores even be ellipsis instead of the bis-stroke: "1, - € ... 100, - €" or "1, - ... 100, - €".

Counter stroke

The opposite line marks a contrast; it is a half-square and is always set with spaces, for example in the match between Bayern Munich and 1. FC Karlsruhe. The semicolon with spaces between them can hinder the flow of reading because it is perceived like a dash. However, if the names of the opponents consist of several words, missing spaces tend to be irritating.

Dash, command dash

The half square can also be used as a shortened dash instead of the long square. According to Duden, a horizontal line (equivalent to a dash) is used for the structure at the beginning of an indented paragraph. The dash is also one of the bullet points and can mark the beginning of a list element as a "command dash" in lists. It is then used with spaces; - Markus, - English.

Line dash

The semicolon is also used for route information such as "from ... to" and "from ... to", for example in the case of railway lines or expressions such as "the distance between earth and moon" or "the north-south axis".

There are different recommendations as to whether or not the semicolon should be framed by spaces or spaces.

For the office area, DIN 5008 and Ö-NORM A 1080 recommend spaces around the line: “Vienna - Krakow”.

According to Duden, the line is usually set without a gap : “Vienna – Krakow”. However, exceptions are often made in writing. Space or space bands are useful, for example, if one of the city name consists of two words ( "Boston - New York - Las Vegas - Phoenix") or many place names are connected as a route, since then often a line break is necessary. The line line should be at the end of the top line when the line breaks.

Amounts of money

The half-square is used as a zero substitute: it can replace the two zeros ("00") to the right of the comma in round monetary amounts. It is set without a gap: "15, - EUR". On the other hand, it is no longer common in Germany, but actually not wrong, to begin with a dash to the left of the decimal point for amounts of money under 1 EUR (e.g. "-, 99 EUR"); At the time of the D-Mark this was still widespread ("-, 99 DM"). Instead, the number zero should be used (e.g. "0.99 EUR"). The reason is that the similarity to a full euro value would be too high. In Switzerland, however, this is still common.

The zero substitute bar is only used for smooth main currency units, not after cents; wrong would be: "50, - Cent". It should also not be used for other dimensions, such as "142, - km" or "25, - kg".

The  longer em dash can be used in tables - but never in the running text ("45, - €").

Two single dashes are from the typewriter era; 3, - EUR - they are no longer common today. For cases in which a dash replaces a digit, Unicode provides the digit- wide dash “-” (U + 2012) as a special semicolon.


The languages ​​contained in dictionaries are linked by a semicolon: "German – English", "English – German".

Other uses

The semicolon is used in "from ... with" or "between ... and" or for the non-spoken words between and with : "the Merkel-Putin negotiations", "the free trade agreement between Switzerland and the EC", "the relations between Germany and France" .

The semicolon can also be used as a bracketed line (with spaces, e.g. "- 24 -", "- Graphics assistant -"), as a repetition line in lists and registers and as an ellipsis in lists instead of zeros or "no details".

Finally, it can be used when breaking off a speech ("I asked myself why he - ..." [without a final point]), when confronting ("on the one hand - on the other hand") and for commands ("On your place - get set - go!") .

Input to computer systems and programs

The semicolon is contained in the Unicode block General Punctuation at position U + 2013 (8211 10 ) under the name EN DASH and in the character set Windows-1252 at position 150 (96 16 ). It can be entered in various systems using key combinations or codes:

System 1 Semicolon (-)
Windows GUI ( CP1252 , standard) Alt+ 01502
TUI ( CP850 , CLI ) -
macOS 3 +-
X11 under z. B. Linux or BSD Ctrl+ ⇧Shift+ U, 2, 0, 1, 3, EnterOr

Alt Gr+ -(German keyboard layout) or
Compose, -, -,.

German standard keyboard keys. T2
(standard for Germany and Austria)
Alt Gr+n
Neo ⇧Umschalt+,
OpenOffice variants 4 -
Keyboard shortcut Strg+ -(Numeric keypad)
Unicode input 2, 0, 1, 3, Alt+ C1
Vim Digraph 5 Strg+ K, -, ⇧Umschalt+N
Unicode input Strg+ V, U, 2, 0, 1,3
TeX / LaTeX --or
\textendash(LaTeX only)
by name –
decimal –
hexadecimal –
Unicode U + 2013

(in the Unicode block general punctuation )

2Enter numbers via the numeric keypad . AltHold the button down permanently.
3 for input sources "German", "Austrian" and "Switzerland, German"
4thWith activated AutoCorrect option, the sign can also Leertaste, -, Leertasteor Leertaste, -, -, Leertastecreate the text. Without the surrounding spaces, two consecutive hyphens create an em dash .
5 RFC 1354 -oriented digraph support in input mode according to documentation .

See also


  • Albert Ernst: Interaction: text content and typographic design . Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 978-3-8260-3146-5 .
  • Jürgen Gulbins, Christine Kahrmann: Courage to Typography: A Course for Desktop Publishing . 2nd Edition. Springer, Berlin 2000, ISBN 978-3-642-63180-1 .
  • Bettine Menke : - dashes - . In: Bernhard Metz, Sabine Zubarik (ed.): On the edge noticed. Annotation Practices in Literary Texts . Kadmos, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86599-060-0 , pp. 169-190 .
  • Oliver Meyer: aTool. Typography as the source of the text structure . Shaker, Aachen 2006, ISBN 978-3-8322-5011-9 .
  • Irmgard Sonnen : Balancing on the dash . Queredo, Düsseldorf 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-026961-5 (dash as a metalinguistic symbol in literature; with texts by Heine, Kleist, Goethe, Morgenstern and many others).

Web links

Commons : dashes  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: dash  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. DIN 5008 : 2020-03
  2. Thomas Biedermann (Ed.): Advice for design orders . Thomas Biedermann, 2011, ISBN 978-3-941695-35-1 , p. 34 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. ^ Peter Gallmann: Punctuation Punctuation . In: Hartmut Günther, Otto Ludwig (Ed.): Writing and writing. An interdisciplinary handbook on international research . tape 10 , half vol. 2. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-11-014744-0 , p. 1456 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  4. The dash in connection with other punctuation marks. Duden newsletter from March 3, 2014, accessed on September 1, 2015.
  5. ^ The dash next to proofreading + editing, accessed on February 6, 2018.
  6. a b WAHRIG editorial team: Correct German made easy. knowledgemedia gmbh, 2009, ISBN 978-3-577-07566-4 , pp. 197–200, limited preview in the Google book search.
  7. a b Recommendation of the Duden language counseling according to Frank Oemig, Armin B. Cremers, Gerhard Heyer: Knowledge-based word processing: typesetting and typography; More intelligent word processing options. Springer, 2013, Kapitel 3 Typographie, p. 85 (older version available online here ).
  8. Duden , Volume 1: The German orthography. Mannheim. Since the 24th edition (2006) in the part "Word processing and e-mails", section dash : "If possible, it should not be at the beginning of the line."
  9. How is the dash according to DIN 5008 used correctly? ( Memento of May 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) - Academy for Vocational Education of German Newspaper Publishers, accessed on September 1, 2015.
  10. Jürgen Gulbins, Christine Kahrmann: Courage to Typography: A course for DTP and word processing. 2nd edition, Springer, 2000, ISBN 978-3-642-63180-1 , p. 171.
  11. ^ Manfred Siemoneit: Typographisches Gestalten. 4th edition, Polygraph Verlag, Frankfurt 1993, ISBN 978-3-934938-22-9 .
  12. Duden: Correct and Good German. Mannheim 2011, p. 357 according to the position of the dash in the case of a line break. Society for the German Language V., accessed on August 28, 2015 .
  13. The Duden does not give an example of the type “3 € - 4 €” or “Saturday 10 p.m. - Sunday 8 a.m.”. Such an example, in which one or more spaces are contained in the expressions connected by the bis dash, is missing in Duden 1 (The German orthography), chapter word processing and e-mails , section dash for "against" and " bis " , as well as in Duden Volume 9 (correct and good German), keyword bis-sign .
  14. line dash . Duden online.
  15. spelling instructions . 2. corr. Edition, Swiss Federal Chancellery, 2015, online (PDF; 3.6 MB), accessed on February 6, 2018.
  16. Ralf Turtschi: Half square - the slightly longer line. In: character letter. No. 3, July 2014, online (PDF), accessed on February 6, 2018.
  17. ^ Peter Gallmann: Strokes. (PDF) from Jena University, 2017, accessed on February 6, 2018.
  18. ^ Strokes, Divis, dashes ( Memento from March 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) at Typoknowledgebase, accessed on February 6, 2018.
  19. ↑ lines of text . In: OpenOffice.org Wiki.
  20. Automatically format hyphens as dashes and ems. ( Memento from March 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) In: office.microsoft.com.