Friday, June 22, 2012

Using the Ellipsis and Brackets (Part 1 of 2)

The ellipsis has two functions. First, it's used in quoted material to shorten the material. You indicate that you have deleted words you consider unimportant for the point you wish to make.

We used to write the ellipsis using three periods without spaces, but the industry trend is to put a space before each period.

You use a four-period ellipsis at the end of a sentence. The ellipsis is still three periods and the fourth is the end of the sentence. Think of it as a period following an ellipsis.

* Butler's report stated, "We will run out of . . . fossil fuels in thirty-five more years."

* "Even when I walk through the darkest valley . . . you are close beside me" (Psalm 23:4, New Living Translation).

* "Comfort the discouraged . . . . Be patient with everyone." (1 Thessalonians 5:14 Common English Bible). The fourth period is to show the end of the sentence.

The second use of the ellipsis, as shown below, is to indicate a pause or hesitation.

* What I mean to say . . . is I don't want to think about it.

* His father was . . . let's say not kind . . . but he worked hard.

Because I know the rule about ellipses, 
I use them properly.


  1. I'm a little confused with the ellipsis and the em-dash.

    At the end of sentence, when someone's thought is interrupted by someone/something, which is used? The ellipsis used or the em-dash? And if it's the ellipsis, is it followed by a period since the thought wasnt completed?


What are your thoughts?