What is the correct dash usage when naming a title?

I have an essay with the title:

The success factors for successful e-commerce - A Linux-based e-commerce platform from an economic perspective

What is the correct dash usage between e-commerce and A Linux...? And should there be a space between e and A?


Neither; it should be an em-dash or a colon. A hyphen is used to connect a compound (a must-read book, Linux-based) and an en-dash connects a range of numbers (1966–69). I prefer the colon if you must have a subtitle. If you use the em-dash, I prefer spaces around it, but that's up to the house style of where you're publishing.

Also, titles should be in title case.

The Success Factors for Successful E-Commerce: A Linux-Based E-Commerce Platform from an Economic Perspective


The Success Factors for Successful E-Commerce — A Linux-Based E-Commerce Platform from an Economic Perspective

I don't understand your second question, as there is nowhere in the title where e is next to A.

  • 1
    I am guessing the poster meant "Should there be a space between [the] e [at the end of 'commerce' and the dash] and [between the dash and the] A", which you answered with your preference and a note that house styles may differ on that subject. – Paul A. Clayton May 27 '14 at 1:01
  • I meant if there should be space between the main titles end and the dash, with the subtitles beginning. That's E-Commerce ending with e. – nicoX May 27 '14 at 14:09
  • What is the correct usage if the "subtitle" was specifying the title. As this is a report. I use main title The Success Factors for Successful E-Commerce. After the main title I input Report to specify the paper as a report. What should connect E-Commerce & Report? Or as a whole as from the start. Main title, subtitle and Report after the subtitle. – nicoX May 27 '14 at 15:38
  • @nicoX Why do you have to say that it's a report? Would someone otherwise confuse it with a tomato? Unless there's some compelling contextual reason to label it Report — for example, in a bound book of long pieces of writing, or a magazine of reprints, a reader might reasonably wonder whether yours might be a blog post, a white paper, a dissertation, a rant, or an editorial — adding "Report" is redundant and unnecessary. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum May 27 '14 at 17:18
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    The Oxford Style Guide actually recommends an en-dash flanked with two spaces over an em-dash and no spaces. – Mussri May 28 '14 at 23:49

According to the APA style guide, "A subtitle should be separated using a colon or em dash (i.e., — and not the shorter - en dash) and then a single space (i.e., Title: Subtitle OR Title — Subtitle)."

Personally, I find the Oxford Style Guide recommendation of an en-dash far more aesthetically pleasing.

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