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Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:07 AM

A question about the ellipsis

When using an ellipsis to indicate a cut or pause in text, how does one type the second set? Do the next words come right next to the three dots or should there be a space?

For example:

"As the man walked... he looked for his dog."

==OR==

"As the man walked...he looked for his dog."

Should the ellipsis come at the end of a line break, how does one handle the ellipsis?

"As the man walked...
... he looked for his dog."

==OR==

"As the man walked...
...he looked for his dog."

It's a little thing but I couldn't find the proper rule.

Thank you, in advance.

13 replies, 994 views

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:09 AM

1. As I recall from school a million years ago,

itís the last one.

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:25 AM

2. Each dot should have a single space on either side, except when adjacent to a quotation mark. nt

Last edited Sun Aug 2, 2020, 05:52 PM - Edit history (1)

Should have been, dot dot dot - not just one dot. Sorry. :>

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:25 AM

3. This falls under style, rather than being a hard and fast rule.

You can do it with or without any spaces on either side ó style just asks that you be consistent and do it the same way throughout your piece of writing.

So examples 1 and 2 are fine...but I donít think (outside of verse or lyrics) you would use line breaks.

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:47 AM

5. I disagree. Please see below. n/t



-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:56 AM

8. This is what editors love to discuss at cocktail parties! I disagree though

(See below)

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:42 AM

4. An ellipsis (three periods) indicates that one or more words have been omitted.

Thatís all it ever means. Treat it like any other word. Itís never attached to another word. Thereís always a space on either side, unless the ellipsis is the last word in a sentence in which case it is followed immediately by the punctuation that ends the sentence.

Eg.: I canít believe ...! (In this case the omitted words might be ďwhat I just saw.Ē)

Eg.: I canít believe ... how stupid that is! (In this case the ellipsis might indicate the omitted words ďfor the life of me.Ē)

Your usage in your first example is inappropriate (or, so it seems) because I can not determine what words may have been omitted that are indicated by the ellipsis. All you need there is a comma.

Eg.: As the man walked, he looked for his dog.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:50 AM

6. This is the correct answer

At least from what I remember from AP Style and Chicago Manual of Style.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:55 AM

7. Actually, AP and Chicago are not identical in this

Thatís how you know itís style and not a hard and fast rule.

For instance, one of them puts spaces between the periods in the ellipsis . . . if you can imagine that.

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 12:01 PM

10. Like I said it's been awhile

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 12:06 PM

11. You're totally right on usage. I'm just rattling on about spaces

.... which is the least important bit.

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 11:58 AM

9. Oh ha! I was answering about the spacing in OP's example

I didnít read the text at all. Youíre right of course on why you use ellipses, but Iím right on spacing thereof being style.

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 12:42 PM

12. I love arguments like this.... actually who thought up this stuff.. Must be this but it can't be

that..... No wonder english is so hard to "get"... I flunked english so many times I can't remember... It made no sense to me.. Speaking? fine.. Writing papers???? flunk..
m

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Response to PJMcK (Original post)

Sun Aug 2, 2020, 12:53 PM

13. Post #4 is correct (Laelth's).

The ellipsis, better known as "the three dots thing" or "dot-dot-dot," stands in for omitted words in quoted material. Wikipedia has a good overview, although it includes a bunch of other uses, such as in computer programming, mathematical notation, and foreign languages.

As others in this thread have pointed out, there are a few variations in style, such as spaces between the dots or even use of asterisks instead of dots, which vary according to which stylebook you're using or the industry for which you're writing.

Sometimes writers incorrectly use the ellipsis to indicate a pause (where they should be using a dash, or possibly a comma). The other common transgression is use of the terminal ellipsis to indicate a "trailing off" at the end of a sentence rather than the omission of quoted material.

Sadly, I no longer have the AP or U.S. News & World Report style guides I used to own -- but a quick check of several writing references (On Writing Well by William Zinsser, The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein, The Transitive Vampire by Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Strunk & White, et al.) shows that the ellipsis doesn't preoccupy many authorities on writing. It's more in the domain of the Chicago Manual of Style, I suppose, another book I no longer own.

In my years as an office worker, where I became known (notorious) as a grammar and usage expert (fussbudget), the ellipsis was one of the things people most often asked me about, probably to settle an argument with their boss. The other was how to punctuate bulleted lists. But let's not go into that!

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