Setting off phrases with dashes, in Spanish

Bruce's picture

I did a search first and found several helpful comments from Héctor but could not find an answer for this.

I'm setting the text for a friend's family history. He is a scientist and very well-read, but I am not sure if his typographic style is correct. He grew up in Chile, but his family is from Asturias in northern Spain, so the book is intended for family members in both Chile and Spain. At the moment, he is using commas and hyphens in places where I would use en-dashes and thin spaces. For example:

. . . prerrománicos, -conocidos también como en arte de la monarquía asturiana- , como son las Iglesias . . .

He is setting off the phrase at the front end by starting with a comma (closed up right next to the end of the word), then a word space, then a hyphen immediately preceding the first word of the phrase. At the end of the phrase he follows the last word immediately with a hyphen, then a word space, then a comma, then a word space, and then the first word of the next clause.

Would this be correct usage for Chile and Spain? Or can someone suggest a different approach? It makes me nervous to see a comma all by itself, with a space on either side.

Also, to confirm something that I read about Mexican usage in an earlier post from Héctor, when I am setting ranges of dates I should use a hyphen and not an en-dash? As in . . . los siglos XVI-XVIII . . . ? Is this correct for Chile and Spain?

Many thanks,


hrant's picture

I don't know much about the "official" rules, but I personally like it with en-dashes with no space on the "insides", but certainly no commas.

So like this:
. . . prerrománicos –conocidos también como en arte de la monarquía asturiana– como son las Iglesias . . .

BTW is that "en" supposed to be an "el"?


Bruce's picture

Thanks, hrant. That is certainly a clearer way of expressing it. Yes, I was typing quickly so the "en" was indeed supposed to be an "el"!

PabloImpallari's picture

. . prerrománicos (conocidos también como el arte de la monarquía asturiana) como son las Iglesias . . .

It makes me nervous to see a comma all by itself, with a space on either side.

Yep, we don't use the comma like that. Remove the extra space.

quadibloc's picture

I know that in my city, the public library has a section of foreign-language books, and so one can look at Spanish-language books to see how they're typically punctuated.

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