Punctuation on a smartphone is a problem sometimes. As a result, many people almost give up on punctuation when they use Twitter and other online tools that are most often used from a mobile device.
The n-dash and m-dash are among the punctuation you rarely see used in tweets, which is a shame because, for example, using an m-dash to separate clauses only uses one character – it’s space-efficient for tweeting.
A reader recently posted the simple solution for adding an n-dash on a smartphone:
On an iPhone, hold down the hyphen (minus symbol) and you’ll see three choices appear.
(Thanks for that Alfajor.)
I tested this right away on a tablet then on an older Android smartphone and sure enough, it works the same!
The first image is a screenshot from a Google Nexus 7 tablet. This shows what the default keyboard looks like after you do a long press on the dash key – it expands to show four options.
The second screenshot is from a basic Samsung smartphone using Android 2.3. You might notice this isn’t the standard Android keyboard – it is the SwiftKey text-predictive keyboard, which is a pretty cool app. Anyway, when you go to the numerical keypad and long-press the dash key, again you get an expanded selection that includes the ndash and mdash.
I suspect there are a lot of cool punctuation tricks lurking underneath the iPhone and Android keyboards – thanks for any tips in the comments!