Hyphen-minus

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Hyphen-minus
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The hyphen-minus (-) is a character used in digital documents and computing to represent a hyphen (‐) or a minus sign (−).[1] It is present in Unicode as code point U+002D - HYPHEN-MINUS; it is also in ASCII with the same value.

Description[edit]

The use of a single character for both hyphen and minus was a compromise made in the early days of fixed-width typewriters and computer displays.[2] However, in proper typesetting and graphic design, there are distinct characters for hyphens, dashes, and the minus sign. Usage of the hyphen-minus nonetheless persists in many contexts, as it is well-known, easy to enter on keyboards, and in the same location in all common character sets.

Most programming languages, restricting themselves to 7-bit ASCII, use the hyphen-minus, rather than the Unicode character U+2212 MINUS SIGN, for denoting subtraction and negative numbers.[3][4]

The hyphen-minus is often used as an en dash. It may be used to indicate:

  • Ranges, as in "2000–2004"
  • Connection or direction, as in "The Los Angeles–London flight."
  • Compound adjectives, as in "He submitted his manuscript to an e–book–only publisher"[5]

Hyphen-minuses are often used instead of en-dashes in these cases, but this practice generally stems from ignorance of the en-dash and is not preferred.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jukka K. Korpela (2006). Unicode explained. O'Reilly. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-596-10121-3. 
  2. ^ Fischer, Eric. "The Evolution of Character Codes, 1874-1968" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  3. ^ Ritchie, Dennis (c. 1975). "C Reference Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  4. ^ "Haskell 2010 Language Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-07. 
  5. ^ [1] en-dash. The Punctuation Guide.