One use of the en dash (–), which is distinct from the em dash (—) and hyphen (-), is to join the elements of a compound adjective when one of its parts is an open compound or when both of its parts are hyphenated compounds. This use of the en dash can be handy, but The Chicago Manual of Style recommends it to be used “sparingly.” If a better solution is available, it should be employed instead (“A low-tech, low-end solution” is probably the better choice in the third example below).
- The pre–Civil War period was a time of political turmoil.
- I love reading the work of Stephen King–influenced authors.
- A low-tech–low-end solution was the only choice.
- Is she a Bram Stoker Award–winning author?
- He loves Garth Brooks–style ballads.