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Smash And Dash This Copyediting Quiz

Hyphens and en dashes and em dashes, oh my!

Posted on August 14, 2019, at 5:25 p.m. ET

Check out the BuzzFeed Style Guide as you take the quiz.

  1. Select the sentence below that follows BuzzFeed style.

    Maja Hitij / Getty Images

    The US Women’s National Team won their second consecutive World Cup — and their fourth overall — after beating the Netherlands 2–0 in this year’s final.

    BuzzFeed style is to use a pair of em dashes (not en dashes) with a space on either side to connect thoughts, and an en dash (not a hyphen) in sports scores.

    Via USWNT / Giphy
  2. Select the sentence below that follows BuzzFeed style.

    Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

    In an interview with ABC News’ Tom Llamas, Melania said she wore the “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” jacket to the US–Mexico border in response to the media-shaming she had previously received.

    BuzzFeed opts for an en dash for compound noun constructions like “US–Mexico border” to signal a partnership or pairing where both entities are equal. When we decide whether to close up or hyphenate, we consult Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and consider readability and comprehension. Thus, “media-shaming.” Remember never to grammar-shame!

    Via Gifbay / Giphy
  3. Select the sentence below that follows BuzzFeed style.

    (Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

    According to a Forbes report earlier this summer, Jay-Z has become the first billionaire in hip-hop and the fifth-richest black person in the US.

    Ahh, Mr. Carter. Mr. Sasha Fierce. The man of many names. Jay-Z — who is actually JAY-Z, but BuzzFeed doesn’t recognize vanity capitalization (or vanity punctuation for that matter) — started off his career with a hyphen, lost the hyphen, and adopted it again. Moral of the story: Jay-Z can afford to have a hyphen or not. Hip-hop is also hyphenated per the style guide. We also adhere to using phrasal adjectives to modify a noun, hence “fifth-richest black person.”

    Via NAACP /
  4. Select the sentence below that follows BuzzFeed style.

    (Photo by Mark Davis / Getty Images)

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus — nominated in the highly competitive Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series category for her role on Veep — played Selina Meyer, whose presidential reelection campaign was the focus of the Emmy-winning show’s final seas

    Louis-Dreyfus does use the hyphen in her surname. (However, the Louis Dreyfus Company, founded by Julia’s great-grandfather, does not use the hyphen.) We never use hyphens after -ly adverbs. Reelection is also closed up per the BuzzFeed Style Guide, AP Stylebook, and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. And again, phrasal adjectives are hyphenated, thus “Emmy-winning.”

    Via Veep / HBO
  5. Select the sentence below that follows BuzzFeed style.

    Giphy Capture / Giphy

    Beware of shit-talking — it can be a mindfuck or sucker punch of sorts for those on the receiving end.

    The em dash is used to indicate a pause — some folks opt to use the double hyphen for the same effect. Don’t be those folks. While Merriam-Webster does include “sucker punch” as an entry, the rest were at the discretion of BuzzFeed’s copy editors. In short, don’t shit-talk the style guide unless you want to get mindfucked?

    Via Futurama / Fox

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.