ellipsis … [125/365]

An ellipsis is a punctuation mark, consisting of three full stops … and I like to use it. Ellipses are used to implicate omission of words or a pause, according to all grammar- and punctuation sites. I chose Merriam-Webster for this:

Full Definition of ellipsis

plural  ellipses play -ˌsēz

  1. 1a  :  the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete  :  a sudden leap from one topic to another

  2. 2:  marks or a mark (as …) indicating an omission (as of words) or a pause

I use it frequently, in my writings — it’s my personal style, and these blog posts certainly aren’t very formal. There are oodles of style manuals out there, so I guess it depends on which one you’re committed to … . For consistency, I always make my ellipsis surrounded by non-breaking spaces. With regards to that, the different style manuals differ. One suggests an ellipsis should consist of three full stops, with spaces in between . . . others argue it should be “my” preferred style … and I feel so lucky to just be writing a personal blog. Nobody’s going to proofread it — only in their heads/minds.

When you read about punctuation — huge subject —  in forums online, people get all worked up and discuss this until they’re blue in the face. Just google the Oxford comma, to see what people have to say about that 🙂

Here, in WordPress’ editor, there’s an Omega sign up in the toolbar, which brings up special characters. The ellipsis is found there, as well as the em dash ( — ). In my ignorance, I thought two hyphens automatically would create an em dash, as it does when typing in various email clients … and also on my iPhone. On a Mac computer, the shortcut  OPTION + ; (semi-colon) produces a … . On a Windows computer, the only way I know of is ALT + 0133 on your numeric pad, provided you have one. Otherwise, I don’t know. For Twitter users, this could come in handy, as they only have 140 characters at their disposal,  and the ellipsis is one, not three.

Perhaps I’m over-using … even abusing the ellipsis. Here, in my blog, I tend to write as I think, so maybe it says something about me. I was meaning to bring up quotation marks in different countries too, but I’ll save that for another time.

11 thoughts on “ellipsis … [125/365]

  1. David Bennett

    And what is interesting is that when I typed it, the three dots were spaced out but when the comment appeared, the dots have bunched up closer together. I see that in other programs I use, but I didn’t know that the Web renders it that way.

    1. Rebekah M

      Yes, it does that … I guess it’s because it’s a character of its own. That goes against the ones who are of the other “school”: three spaced dots . . .

  2. Mara Eastern

    This post warms up my editor’s heart ❤ As you say, there is a number of different styles and I think the point is that whichever you choose, you should be consistent with it. I don’t bother much with punctuation in my blog posts, but otherwise I use the Chicago Manual of Style for typography and style in general. I spend much of my proofreading time checking whether the writer distinguishes between three dots and four dots correctly when quoting (yes, there is a distinction even for this). English punctuation is significantly different from Czech punctuation, and sadly, very few people even in academia are aware of that. I like to say that I’ll marry the first person who will correctly use the em-dash in English 😮 So far I haven’t met anyone who could do that, except a fellow proofreader and colleague, who however happens to be gay, so no marrying is happening.

    1. Rebekah M

      Yeah, sure, there should be four, when it’s trailing in a sentence … .
      How about that?! 😀

      I don’t bother much with stuff like this in my little blog here — this is about the only thing I use, and I do it consistently. It fits well, as I like to write in this conversational style.

      It was quite the revelation see all the different quotation marks in different countries, after we’d talked about this. I had NO idea the «these» were French Canada.

      Damned shame that he’s gay then 🙂

      1. Mara Eastern

        It was only recently when I discovered the French quotation marks, so it’s not a matter of course for me either. The worst about quotation marks is to make them “smart” rather than the standard web straight, dumb quotes. It’s perfectly ok for web, it’s even preferred, but hardly anyone bothers to smartify quotation marks in documents unless the office app does it for them (and very often messes it all up). You can’t imagine the wild mutations that people come up with. I’ve seen my share in my proofreading career.

  3. wordsfromanneli

    I try to avoid them whenever possible. Fewer headaches that way. Also, it doesn’t chop up your writing as much. It’s an easy habit to fall into though….


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