In case you didn’t know it, WordPress has a couple of built-in auto-formatting features that are really helpful — the em dash and the en dash. These two styles are often used to separate content, with the em dash used quite often in lieu of a comma. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, the en dash is the width of the let N, and the em dash is the width of the letter M. The en dash is not often used but can be used between dates or other sequences (e.g., 1–50). According to the AP Style Guide, which only uses hyphens and em dashes, the em dash is used to signal abrupt change; as one option to set off a series within a phrase; before attribution to an author or composer in some formats; after datelines; and to start lists.

Hyphens and Dashes

When writing content, you often need to put breaks between words or content. While the traditional hyphen is easy, the others are not as straightforward until you know about them. To use the em dash and en dash in WordPress, the implementation is easy:

  • A standard hyphen (-) uses a single hyphen
  • An en dash (–) is generated when two hyphens are used together – –
  • An em dash (—) is generated when three hyphens are used together – – –

Sometimes you need to demonstrate two hyphens — such as CSS variables (- -awb-color1) and possibly three, as in the example above. To bypass this auto-formatting, just put a space between each hyphen. This works in the core WordPress Editor (aka Gutenberg) as well as the classic editor employed by Avada.

Originally published on Oct. 2, 2022

Stacked rocks on Ogunquit Beach in MaineThe Navigator - easily navigating your page structure
Snowboarder coming down a snowcapped mountain and making a turn with their hand on the ground for stabilityHorizontal Scrolling Columns and Column Overlays

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Read New Avada-based website

    I am launching a new website using Avada taking advantage of the lessons learned over the past two years of builder evaluations.

    March 5, 2023

  • Read Going Green-ish

    Going Green-ish

    Do you know how much energy your website consumes per visit? I was shocked and made immediate changes.

    December 28, 2022

  • Read Analytics Alternative: Cabin.

    If you are looking for an alternative to Google Analytics, I recommend checking out Cabin - a privacy-first solution.

    December 25, 2022

  • Read New Section: Code Snippets

    I created a new Code Snippets section to start collecting and sharing code that I have found helpful for Avada or WordPress in general.

    December 18, 2022

  • Read The State of WordPress

    The future of WordPress is very bright, but it is going to take a new way of thinking and a willingness to learn new things. Gutenberg is only a part of that future.

    December 15, 2022

  • Read Styling the RankMath Sitemap

    Styling the RankMath Sitemap

    If you are a RankMath user, you may know that they recently introduced a feature that automatically generates an HTML version of the XML sitemap. This post is to share the CSS I am using to add some layout to an otherwise long list of links.

    December 11, 2022