I've seen a number of people especially in business settings use hyphens after names while writing or addressing other individuals. Is this accurate? e.g. John - I've been trying to reach you or Hi John - I've been trying to reach you

  • What medium? What country? To close colleagues, bosses, underlings, or customers? To people you know well or have never met? What do you mean "accurate" - common, grammatical, ambiguous, in accordance with a specific style guide?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


This is a very informal way of indicating a break. In fiction one would use it in dialog.

Consequently it would be suitable to use in a text message, and perhaps an informal email.


What you're referring to would be an em-dash.

From the CMS's site:

The em dash has several uses. It allows, in a manner similar to parentheses, an additional thought to be added within a sentence by sort of breaking away from that sentence—as I’ve done here. Its use or misuse for this purpose is a matter of taste, and subject to the effect on the writer’s or reader’s “ear.”

I would read CH6 of the Chicago Manual of Style for more information.

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