# Preventing a line break between an en dash and a paren

When referring to a person who is still alive I give the birth year followed by an en dash all in parentheses, as in Jim Foo (1977--). At times this results in a line break between the en dash and the right parentghesis. Is there any way to prevent this so that Jim Foo (1977--) is all on the same line?

• The easiest approach is probably to pack the whole date expression in a box: \mbox{(1977--)} – barbara beeton Nov 27 '19 at 19:17
• If you like one of the answers, it would be nice to mark it as correct :) – skyter Dec 2 '19 at 10:46

As Barbara already showed, you should put it in a \mbox to prevent the line break.

\mbox works like the content is in a box, that is not breakable.

If you want to make life easier, you could create your own command:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\newcommand{\alive}[2]{{#1} \mbox{({#2}--)}}
\begin{document}
\alive{Jim Foo}{1977}
\end{document}

• If the name is long, boxing name plus date could force the whole thing to a new line, wreaking havoc on the spacing of the paragraph. While it's often possible to squeeze a single parenthesis into an existing line, things often don't go so well when a longer string is made unbreakable. – barbara beeton Nov 28 '19 at 0:20
• True, edited it :) – skyter Nov 28 '19 at 13:30

You can use the \nobreakdash from amsmath.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{amsmath}

\textwidth=2.9cm

\begin{document}

\noindent X\dotfill X

Jim Foo (1977\nobreakdash--)

\end{document}

• It seems that \nobreakdashes is in the basic LaTeX format. See comments following @DavidCarlisle's answer. – barbara beeton Nov 28 '19 at 17:34

Apart from boxing the whole date range, some other possibilities that may be more or perhaps less convenient, depending on the authoring requirements.

\documentclass{article}

\textwidth=2.9cm
\begin{document}

\noindent X\dotfill X

Jim Foo (1977--)

Jim Foo \mbox{(1977--)}

Jim Foo (1977\mbox{--})

Jim Foo (1977\nobreakdashes--)

\exhyphenpenalty=10000 % global affecting - and --- as well as --
Jim Foo (1977--)

\end{document}

• Not quite exhaustive ... you didn't get the \nobreakdash. – barbara beeton Nov 28 '19 at 16:52
• @barbarabeeton \nobreakdashes with an s I'd forgotten about that, will add, thanks – David Carlisle Nov 28 '19 at 17:05
• @barbarabeeton added – David Carlisle Nov 28 '19 at 17:08
• But I don't remember a plural? Did you change something? – barbara beeton Nov 28 '19 at 17:15
• @barbarabeeton I didn't remember either but the plural is in the format since 2004, borrowed from amsmath: % \begin{macro}{\nobreakdashes} % \changes{v1.3}{2004/02/04}{(Macro added} % \changes{v1.3a}{2004/02/15}{(Added spacefactor setting} % This idea is borrowed from the \textsf{amsmath} package but % here we define a robust command. – David Carlisle Nov 28 '19 at 17:18