Weekly Grammar Tip: Ellipsis

Used to indicate an omission, drifting thought, or a pause, the ellipsis is often abused. It consists of three fullstops in a row with a space before the first and after the last: ‘ … ’ – note that it is ONLY three fullstops. Five, ten, thirty-seven fullstops are all incorrect, regardless of how long the ‘pause’ is supposed to be! There does not have to be a space between each fullstop but there should be one at the beginning and the end.

  • An ellipsis is used to indicate an omission, for example in quoting something:

“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.”

becomes

“Never gonna give you up … never gonna run around and desert you.”

  • It is used in dialogue to indicate a drifting thought or a pause, for example:

“I’m fine, I just … ” he sighed, his gaze fixed on the falling snow. “I’m fine … but cold.”

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3 comments on “Weekly Grammar Tip: Ellipsis

  1. Pingback: Weekly Grammar Tip: Parentheses and Brackets « dodging commas

  2. Aw c’mon Stef – how about multiples to indicate a really LONG pause?

    “I’m fine but … …. … … … well, y’know, fine”

    No? I thought you’d say that …

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