When typesetting something to anything, for example:

The team won 5-1.

meaning five wins to one loss, or some such...

Does best practice suggest using a hyphen (5-1) or an n-dash (5–1)?

I know that n-dashes are preferred when indicating a range (2015–2021) and that colons are used when dealing with statistical odds (I'll give you 5:2 on the Red Socks!), but which (or an hyphen) for indicating wins vs. losses?

  • 2
    This question might be better suited for a grammar/punctuation stack exchange like English. Personally, I have seen the hyphen used more often, but I cannot find a source for the proper use. I checked MLB, NBA, & NFL, they all use a hyphen.
    – AndrewH
    Apr 28 at 19:12
  • I would use a colon. I would absolutely avoid both a hyphen and an en dash, because both would be read as meaning that they one a single game with five points/goals to one. A colon would also likely be read like that, but slightly less likely, I’d say. Anything that you’d read out as ‘five to one’ would be likely to be misunderstood, since the spoken version would be likely to be misunderstood. Apr 28 at 22:14
  • In UK English usage, I would use an en-dash. In other countries/languages this might be different. See this article. Another here
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 28 at 22:53
  • And another here, and yet another here
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 28 at 22:58
  • Note: I have also seen a hyphen used for sports scores, probably because it's easier to type. Not sure if one could say this is wrong/right. Much may depend on whether an institution has a style guide which may specify which is to be used.
    – Billy Kerr
    Apr 28 at 23:15

I also think this may be better at English.SE..

However my understanding..

A hyphen is a conjunction of connected terms.

En and Em dashes are a continuation of a thought.

A colon with numbers, indicates a ratio – a single outcome, not different values. A colon for sports scores is incorrect.

For sports scores, a hyphen is more appropriate.

An En dash would be acceptable if the hyphen does not provide enough visual separation. An Em dash would never be acceptable.

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