Ellipsis

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What Is Ellipsis? (with Examples)

An ellipsis (...) is three dots used to show that words have been omitted from a quotation or to create a pause for effect. More specifically, an ellipsis can be used: Note: It is possible to use a dash to create a pause for effect.

Examples of Ellipsis

Here are some examples of ellipsis: Note: When an ellipsis ends a sentence, four dots are used (three for the ellipsis and one for the period / full stop ).

Using Square Parentheses (Square Brackets) with Ellipsis

When using an ellipsis to show that words are missing from a quotation, it is a common practice (but not essential) to put square parentheses ,i.e., square brackets like these [ ], around the ellipsis to differentiate it from an ellipsis which appeared in the original text or to make it clear it's not a pause for effect. For example: Square brackets are not used with an ellipsis for a pause. For example:

The Format for Ellipsis

When using ellipses, be consistent with your formatting. That is the golden rule. The formats offered in style guides vary. Your options, in our assessed order of popularity, are: When an ellipsis replaces words at the end of a sentence, your options are: Note: Whatever format you use, you're trying to show an ellipsis and then an end mark (i.e., period). (These formats are possible in the . . . (dot-space-dot-space-dot) versions too, but be aware this might hide the distinction between the end mark and the ellipsis.)

When a quote ends with an original sentence, but you want to show other sentences have been omitted, your options are: Note: Whatever format you use, you're trying to show an end mark and then an ellipsis. (These formats are possible in the . . . (dot-space-dot-space-dot) versions too, but be aware this might hide the distinction between the end mark and the ellipsis.)

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See Also

A dash replacing an ellipsis used for a pause for effect Glossary of grammatical terms