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My philosophy, monday, may 6, 2019, how to use an ellipsis properly in fiction.

writing fiction ellipses

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” - Dr. Suess
“You know you’re in love when . . . reality is finally better than your dreams.” - Dr. Suess
July seventeenth, what a night. Sam rowed me over to the little island. We danced on the beach, and we kissed on the beach, and . . .
"I started to go to the school, but . . ." she trailed off.
Would she actually want . . . ? she wondered. 
"Sarah is really very . . . fanciful , isn't she?" David said. 
She ate . . . she drank . . . and she went shopping.
I was so hungry. . . . chicken, cereal, tofu, pasta--all of it sounded good.
 "They treated me like . . . Want to go to dinner?" she asked suddenly.

(Worth noting, however, is that the Chicago Manual of Style has some examples where it isn't, but it's usually best to stick to these guidelines.)

If not, you don't. When it comes to spacing before and after an ellipsis, handle it how you would a regular word .

Sarah was really very[space]. . .[space] fanciful . 
"I started to go to the school, but[space] . . .[no space]" she trailed off.
Would she actually want[space]. . .[space]? she wondered.
Would she actually want[space].[space].[space].[space]? she wondered.
Would she actually want ... ? she wondered.
"I wish . . ." "Shut up!" Mike interrupted.
"I wish--" "Shut up!" Mike interrupted.


writing fiction ellipses

I don't believe I have ever seen this handled so thoroughly and perfectly! Thank you for this.

writing fiction ellipses

Thank you for this! I've always used them but I needed confirmation I was utilizing them correctly. I'm more than a little relieved to see "...?" is alright. This was very helpful.

Glad this helped!

Okay, just a little thing to check. I want to make sure I'm doing this right. Is it: "Erm...what?" Or "Erm...What?"

Some things, like this, are debatable or preference. Personally, I would do the top one, but you can make a case for either.

I am editing writing by someone who likes to use ellipses too often. Sometimes twice in a paragraph, and again in the next paragraph. Is there a legal limit,or should I allow them all? thanks!

There isn't a hard and fast rule for how often to use them, but if you feel there are too many and it's not helping the text, I would let the writer know.

I love using ellipses in my writing because it feels like and works so well with my voice. I've not seen another piece that better explains the proper way to use them. I try not to overuse them and don't believe I do, but this certainly validates my usage. Thank you.

Glad to hear!

I love comments :)

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writing fiction ellipses

Harness The Power Of…The Ellipsis!

by Writer's Relief Staff | Apr 5, 2013 | Creative Writing Craft and Techniques , Grammar and Usage , Other Helpful Information , Uncategorized | 4 comments

Review Board Is Now Open! Submit Your Poetry and Short Prose Today!

Deadline: monday, march 13th.

Love the ellipsis ? So do we! But an ellipsis can be a touchy, persnickety little punctuation mark. Used in the wrong situation, ellipses can appear overdone, overly dramatic, silly, sloppy, unnecessary… You get the point.

As writers and authors, we may need to ask ourselves if it’s time we push back from the table and analyze our appetite for the ellipsis (or the “dot-dot-dot” as some folks call it). If we overdo it, our writing suffers, but if we learn to use it properly, we can harness the power of the ellipsis in our short stories , poetry , and novels …without being annoying!

So what’s the right way to use an ellipsis for dramatic effect in your writing?

The Right Way To Use An Ellipsis

Technically, an ellipsis is a punctuation mark that indicates an omission or a pause . According to The Chicago Manual of Style : “Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty.” (In other words, if the ellipsis were a person, it would need some serious one-on-one time with a psychologist.)

If you’re wondering how the ellipsis differs from the em dash, CMOS suggests that the dash should be used for more abrupt and decisive pauses.

Style guides differ on the correct formation of the ellipsis. You can use spaces between the periods (. . .); spaces before and after the three periods ( … ), or spaces around AND between the periods ( . . . ). At Writer’s Relief , we use the pre-composed symbol in Word with no space before or after the symbol.

But let’s get back to proper usage…

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The ellipsis is often used to indicate omitted text in quoted material , and this can be pretty handy. For example, if you need a couple of salient facts from a long, lackluster quote, you can leave out the boring stuff and replace it with an ellipsis.

In fiction, the most common usage of the ellipsis is to indicate a trailing off (technical term: aposiopesis) and to build tension. We all watched in horror as the asteroid drew closer and closer to Earth. If Captain Jack wasn’t able to set the charge in time…

Or, if you need to show hesitancy in a character’s dialogue : “Oh, Jack, I didn’t realize you were… interested in me that way.”

The ellipsis is also an effective way to show that a character is trying to speak while sobbing or stuttering out of fear. “But…I didn’t realize…Captain Jack wasn’t…ever…coming…back!”

(Of course, so many ellipses in one sentence might make your readers want to cry. So as a rule, always use as few as possible.)

Why The Ellipsis Sometimes Gets A Bad Rap

There are many examples of how the ellipsis can be used to a writer’s advantage. But is the ellipsis always the BEST choice or merely the easiest?

There are many techniques apart from ellipses that work just as well to show a pause or to show that the dialogue/action is incomplete. The trouble is, these techniques takes a bit more work, so relying too heavily on the poor little ellipsis can suggest that a writer is “lazy.”

To weed out your ellipses, you’ll need to invest time in toying with your sentences until you find alternative, more powerful choices. For example:

I just don’t know how…to say this… It’s just that…I’m in love…with someone else.

This sentence is soft. When the bad news breaks, it doesn’t land like a bomb; it sort of dribbles out. The emotional impact is weakened by too many ellipses, which suggest a tapering off of tension.

The sentence might be reasonably changed to:

I don’t know how to say this… It’s just that—I’m in love. With someone else.

Are You Abusing The Ellipsis In Email?

Some people use the ellipsis frequently in emails or to give their writing a more conversational style. When used to show a pause or a break in train of thought, the ellipsis is fantastic.

But if the ellipsis is used randomly—scattered around helter-skelter with smiley faces and multiple exclamation points—the message may come across as childish. Especially if the ellipsis is graced with lots and lots of extra dots…………

Don’t let this fun little symbol take the place of proper punctuation! When overused (or used improperly), the ellipsis loses its power, resulting in an insecure writing style. But if you can harness its power, the ellipsis can be a good friend! Think about it…

(If you’re in doubt about your ellipsis usage, the proofreaders at Writer’s Relief are experts on punctuation and style—and they will not tolerate ellipsis abuse. We offer individual proofreading services , so let us know if we can help!)

Questions for Writers

My worst ever use of ellipses…


We see so often how use of the ellipsis invites people to go on…and on…and on…(smiley face inserted here)


Ellipses are awesome…if you know how to use them. I’m currently proofreading a book I spent the past year writing, and, well…let’s just say the writing is ellipsis heavy…very heavy. However, I’m not just throwing ellipses in when they should be m-dashes, semicolons, or whatever else would do the job better…I’m using them with a purpose. You could say that the language of the book I’m writing should be revised so it actually looks like the poetry it’s intended to read like

with the appropraite line breaks done as I have here

…however, I like the relationship the ellipsis suggest for the words/sentence fragments (parts) on either side of it. Not all elipses suggest exactly the same relationship and sometimes it’s not so obvious and other times it’s a “well, of course that’s what he meant” moment. Anyway, instead of using line breaks like the above example

…the text, of the novel, is formatted…similar to that which I am writing here…in the comments box…and…is not broken as it would be, if it were traditional poetry.

Yes, the above example sounds terrible, but it has none of the poetry the novel does. (It’s 7:30 am…I’m not writing poetry as an example of how to use ellipses). What I love about the ellipsis, as I have used it in my novel, is the abstruse mystery they (nearly 10,000 in 709 pages) give each sentence I use them in. 10,000? Nearly…that’s a rough estimate based on an early draft elipsis/page average. And like I said, no, I’m not just throwing them at the page and letting them land where they may. I actually take the time to consider each and every one and how they effect the poetic rhythm of the senbtence…and very often a comma works better for the intended purpose. Sometimes a full stop does the job and others well…

My use of the ellipsis has developed over the course of a year of writing, almost, every sing day…after a childhood of writing poetry, during which I developed the infancy of the style I now use. I didn’t just sit down to write a novel with no idea how to use commas, semicolons, m-dashes, etc. and start using elipses thinking no one would notice. I started writing a novel that I wanted to read like prose, read like poetry, have a certain rhythm, and noticed that commas, semicolons and m-dashes worked very well, but didn’t cover everything I needed to do in order to get the rhythmic stops just right, that’s where the elipsis came in…

If you want to make the ellipsis a part of how you write (thus, using it often), then do it…but, before you do, understand that not using it correctly won’t always read as a mistake, but instead may read as poor writing by an amature hack. It’s the only punctuation mark that requires intimate experience with to be able to freely use it and still be taken seriously. I use the ellipsis to spell out the rhythym with which my novel is to be read (for poetic purposes) but I still know the technical aspect to the punctuation. I know how and when they should be used technically. If I’ve used it in violation of those rules then I will correct it, however, I’ve bent the rules so far that they’ve almost broken a few times…but I do know the rules.

Heavy elipsis use=hack writing…unless done well.

Elise Sheppard

My sister and I, while traveling, laughed ourselves silly over an old Barbara Cartland novel. Her method of indicating innocence and hesitation was something like this, “Oh, Lucas…I can’t imagine anyone…as wonderful as you… loving little old me.” Her heart beat in her heaving breast like a captured bird… Golly! I’m getting good at this schloch. Maybe I should write a satiric romance…

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writing fiction ellipses

Ellipses…Guidelines for Their Safe Use In Fiction

July 22, 2021 by Clara Bush 5 Comments

writing fiction ellipses

Deviating from the weird and wonderful, the next two blogs will deal with writer business. I know. I feel your pain. But I receive so many hits on my blogs on ellipses and em dashes, it’s time to update. I’ve procrastinated long enough. 

Much confusion surrounds the use of ellipses — a series of three dots/periods in a row. And understand, the confusion is not just on the part of writers, but editors as well.

I love to use ellipses in my writing, but most editors don’t seem to like them, or don’t know how to use them, and offer the recommendation to use them sparingly. As hard as I try, I get three or four or more wrong every time I send a manuscript to my editor.

I hope you and I evolve into such competent users of ellipses we feel confident enough to tell our editors, Nope you are wrong . (Dreaming. I know.)

Drawing from several resources, I created the following guidelines. Please note that these guidelines are for writing fiction .

( Probe Note: Guidelines for the use of ellipses in non-fiction or the academia world are clear.)

writing fiction ellipses

Ellipses, Or … Dot, Dot, Dot

For our purposes : An ellipsis is a literary device, a punctuation mark, used:

Below are a variety of common ellipsis uses. I took these from books I’ve read.

(ProbeNote: Check out the differences in the spacing of the dots from various authors. Each author uses a different way to space ellipses! No wonder there is confusion.)

Examples of Ellipsis: In Internal Dialogue

Right now it all seems like an awful lot of work. A long row to hoe. A high mountain to climb. A . . . a . . . But he can’t think of any other similes. — Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
He realizes she’ll never watch another reality show. It’s sad . . . but it does have its funny side. — Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
I lay where I was, looking at her. Some small soothing in me was yammering at me to try to pick up the pieces … explain … apologize … make some reparation for this terrible conduct.” — Godbody by Theodore Sturgeon

Examples of  Ellipsis: In Dialogue

  “I know. Just…you were going to find out later, and I didn’t want you to think I’d been jerking you around. What?” Oz managed. His right eye was blinking hard. He felt weak. — The Intruders by Michael Marshall
He realized that the man was wearing gloves. “What are you…” The man put his face up close. — The Intruders by Michael Marshall
  “Perhaps outdoors … the pool, that will be it. She likes the pool. I’ll go with you.” — More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

Examples of Ellipsis: In Narration

Key around his neck . . . hurry. Both hands on the chain, legs under her, snatch. The chain broke and she fell backward, scrambling up again. Turned around, confused. Trying to feel, trying to listen with her numbed ears over the crackle of the flames. Side of the bed . . . which side? She stumbled on the body, tried to listen. — Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
The weeks went by and broken tissues knit and the wide flat body soaked up nourishment like a cactus absorbing moisture. Never in his life had he had rest and food and … She sat with him, talked to him.  — More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

writing fiction ellipses

Guidelines to the Safest Way to Use Ellipses

( but no guarantees ).

writing fiction ellipses

If you check out the spacing of ellipses used by the authors above, there are different formats used by the famous.

What do we use?

King’s style is indicative of The Chicago Manual of Style:  space, dot, space, dot, space, dot, space . And you will find this even in his more recent novels like The Institute (2019) and Outsider (2018).

Marshall’s style is correct according to the most up-to-date information available: dot, dot, dot with  no   spaces and no end punctuation . Because of the wide use of computers and Microsoft Word/Office — which offers a keyboard shortcut to the ellipsis — this is the accepted spacing for modern times.

Eons ago, teachers taught us to double space after ending punctuation marks before beginning a new sentence. Now, we are told to only use one space. This appears to be the current status of the ellipsis. Less is more.

As for me, I will use the dot, dot, dot with  no spaces when writing my novels and novellas. It’s evolution, you see. And way the heck simpler. Plus, the editing program I use suggests this as the recommended style.

(However, you may have noticed in my blog I use space, dot, dot, dot, space ; like Sturgeon. That’s because of the font and theme of my blog. The spaces make it easier on the eyes to read.)

Clara Bush

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About Clara Bush

Clara is creator of the popular Science Fiction novellas, "The Creep Mesquite Anthology." It's SyFy with monsters and a little romance, available on Amazon Kindle.

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November 4, 2014 at 6:12 pm

I love running across a good ellipses when I read. I like to imagine the word, spoken aloud, then the sound travels to my ear and into mind where it …

November 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Thank you for posting, J. Marin. Beautifully said. I love ellipses as well.

You sound like a writer. Are you?

I put your name into the magic jar for the drawing on November 20.

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July 25, 2021 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for the information on ellipses. They are my favorite to use, and I probably use too many. Most times I’ll do the space dotdotdot space. Oh, just wanted you to know, I loved reading your ghost hunt stories series. 🙂

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August 3, 2021 at 11:27 am

Hi b, Thank you for your comment and reading my blog! I have been enjoying your blog as well and I love the variety of your posts and your beautiful photographs. Let’s keep in touch! —Clara

November 3, 2021 at 1:38 pm

Thanks so much, Clara! Just now seeing your comment. I really appreciate that you enjoy seeing my posts, too! 🙂

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Don’t Abuse the Dot-Dot-Dots

August 22, 2014 in Say What? with 10 Comments

writing fiction ellipses

Writers often succumb to dot abuse. Well, I’ve heard some people call ellipses “dots.” I’m not talking about the candy here. These are very useful bits of punctuation that every writer will need to use sometime. But these three little dots get tossed around too much and are used where they shouldn’t.

The ellipsis consists of three evenly spaced dots (periods) with spaces between the ellipsis and surrounding letters or other marks. The only time you don’t leave a space between an ellipsis “dot” and a surrounding mark is when it falls next to a quotation mark:

Notice that it is perfectly correct to include punctuation in speech alongside ellipses as desired:

Ellipses have a few different functions. Here are the main uses for an ellipsis:

As with exclamation marks or italics, one can overdo the use of ellipses. I sometimes see ellipsis abuse all over the place. Ellipses used for sudden cutoff of speech (that’s where you use an em dash, not an ellipsis), for pauses when there should be none, for a poetic feel (really doesn’t work). Ellipses running amok when they should be used sparingly and appropriately.

Just so you know: If you are quoting material and omit words following the end of a sentence, you’ll want to use four dots (one is the period for that sentence) like this:

Another good use of ellipses (although this is not a rule but a handy style choice) is when you are showing only one side of a phone conversation, and you want to indicate those pauses showing the character is listening:

By the way, those “dots” are called ellipsis points or ellipsis marks. But you can call them “dot-dot-dots,” if that makes you happy!

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writing fiction ellipses

10 Responses to “Don’t Abuse the Dot-Dot-Dots”

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Great post, as always!

The only thing I’d take issue with is the formatting of an ellipsis. (I’ve been a typesetter and proofreader for two decades.)

With the advent of e-book formatting, though, you’ll see digital editions laid out with an ellipsis formatted as three periods in a row, no spaces between them. Some formatters will put a space before and after the entire ellipsis; others will place a space only before or only after the ellipsis. But they tend to put a space somewhere… just not between the periods themselves.

This is because one cannot control how an e-book looks on an individual’s e-reader. Fonts are resized. Screens are all different. Using this formatting at least keeps the ellipsis together and unbroken, and therefore easier to read.

For print layout, things are as you state, although we’re starting to see print layout using the same rules as e-book layout. This is most likely just to save time and effort when a book comes out in both print and e-book formats.

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Thanks, Linda. Your concerns apply when a manuscript gets to the actual publishing stage, but the CMOS rules are what I’m presenting. In my editing and proofreading, as well as in my manuscripts, I use nonbreaking spaces (control+shift+space bar) for the two spaces between the ellipsis points, so the three “dots” won’t be broken up across lines. I’ve found that publishers will do something similar when getting to the formatting stage in preparation for galleys (at least all mine have). Thanks for sharing this.

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Ok, Suzanne, this is just spooky. I’m doing a last run-through of my novel and have noticed a number of dots just as you mention. Thanks to both you and Linda for expanding on dots. When I did the replacement you suggested, I actually had one dot sequence break up just as Linda discussed. And when I came back to write my comment, there you were with the way to solve that. Awesome!

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Thank you for covering this seemingly tiny point(s). It drives me crazy when a manuscript is riddled with ellipses. I came up through the ranks as a journalist (in the old days) so I tend to be even stricter, using them only to indicate a gap in a quote. I’ve tried to ease up a bit. I’m going to tweet this and make sure to save it as reference for fellow writers who tend to be too… elliptical.

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Thank you! I seem to add the … more on an unconscious level. It’s great to know that I should at least think about why I am using (

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My manuscript had a bad case of Morse Code disease (ellipses and em-dashes). A number of people at the Yahoo Critical Writing Group gave me a hard time about it. David Jackson, the group owner, is brilliant and witty; he called it the William Shatner school of dialog. It’s hard to argue with someone who makes you laugh.

At first I resisted their advice and even justified the practice, but the more I looked at my writing, the worse it looked. I eventually began using Search and Replace to normalize my style.

I keep mine spaced, but I’m noticing the unspaced treatment a lot. Thanks for the non-breaking space trick; I happen to know I’ll be needing that very soon.

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This is a very useful post…I had been wondering if I’d been on the right track!

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One observation: Are the points used to indicate trailing off or faltering thoughts not called suspension points rather than ellipsis points? I was taught in school (I’m a copyeditor) that ellipsis points are used to indicate an omission, and suspension points are used to indicate the other. I know this is just a matter of a title (the points look the same in the document regardless of what they’re called), but I wanted to be completely clear. We were also taught to space the three points closed up with a thin space on either side, but that may just be the house style I’ve grown used to. Looking in the Chicago, I see their recommendation is for evenly spaced points just as you suggested.

Thanks for the great post.

I’ve never heard of suspension points, but a rose by any other name …

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Thank you for posting this! I just finished writing my first fiction book and now have to go through and scale down all the …’s!

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writing fiction ellipses

The Writing Cooperative


Mar 6, 2019

What is an Ellipsis and When Should You Use One?

You may have used an ellipsis without being aware of what it is and its actual use in punctuation. For example, have you ever written a text or a sentence in your work-in-progress that just trails off? Maybe you don’t know what to say or maybe you were raised “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I guess I can meet you later…

If you got the above text message, would you think the person has something else to say but is holding back?

Did you know those three dots are called an ellipsis, and the above instance isn’t correct usage? The ellipsis has been hijacked much like the figurative use of “literally.”

What is an ellipsis?

An ellipsis is three consecutive periods used as a punctuation mark in formal writing to denote missing or omitted text. For example, if you’re quoting someone but don’t need the entire text, put an ellipsis in place of the content you’re not including.

Technically, the ellipsis should have a space between each period as well as a space before and after, unless next to a quotation mark, where there is no space.

It’s used incorrectly today in text messages, emails, social media, and even in some blogs. Writers use it often to show their thoughts trailing off or hesitation.

How to use an ellipsis

Sometimes a writer wants to quote a part of someone else’s text or speech. An ellipsis shows where text was omitted, either before, in the middle of, or at the end of a sentence. An example is the best way to show you.

Let’s say you want to quote the principal of your local school who said:

But you don’t want it be so wordy. You would shorten it with an ellipsis like this:

Clearer and more concise, wouldn’t you say?

The English language is ever evolving

The ellipsis is now widely used outside of its formal or traditional purpose for a variety of reasons. Authors use an ellipsis to show a pause in dialogue or narrative, or they use it to show a character or narrator’s thoughts trailing off.

Both writers and editors today treat the ellipsis as a style issue, meaning some prefer three consecutive periods with no spaces, and the rules for spacing before and after can also vary. Unless the writing is formal or you have a style guide with specific instructions, choose the style you like best and follow it consistently.

Final thoughts

What do you think about the ellipsis? Do you use it as a pause for emphasis or maybe when your thoughts trail off? Some English purists decry this misuse of the ellipsis.

Whichever side you land on, consider using the ellipsis with caution. Much like overuse of an exclamation point, the ellipsis can annoy when used recklessly.

Kathy Edens is a blogger, a ghost writer, and content master who loves writing about anything and everything. Check out her books: The Novel-Writing Training Plan: 17 Steps to Get Your Ideas in Shape for the Marathon of Writing and Creating Legends: How to Craft Characters Readers Adore… or Despise .

Originally published at .

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writing fiction ellipses


Worry-free Writing: how to use an ellipsis

How to use an ellipsis correctly

​ How do I make an ellipsis?

​how do i use an ellipsis, 1 an ellipsis shows that a sentence is unfinished. it is used when the writer has left something unsaid or when a sentence tails off., ​2 an ellipsis is also used to show you have left out text from a direct quote., should i put a space before an ellipsis.

writing fiction ellipses


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Ellipses in Fiction

writing fiction ellipses

I'm confused. I understand how an ellipsis is used in dialogue, and how it is used to skip over parts in a quote. But, online sources seem to differ on the appropriateness of ellipses in the narrative parts of fiction. Specifically, when writing in the first person, it feels appropriate to use them to indicate a dramatic pause — akin to a semicolon, but less formal. Is this a turn off for publishers?

' src=

...a semicolon does not indicate a dramatic pause.

A semicolon connects two complete, but highly related statements. It also has a use when creating lists.

An ellipse indicates a pause, hesitation, or a trailing off. It can occur in dialogue or narration.

Not really sure what else to say...

Well that's why I want to use an ellipse. Sometimes, I'm not looking for an em-dash or a semicolon in the narration. That's for verifying the use in narration.

Not sure if it is a turn off for publishers, but I don't see them a whole lot in the published works I read.

In most cases when I've seen them it's been in peer work and they are usually jarring or are unnecessary. It's like the writer inserts them when they think there needs to be a dramatic pause, but a lot of the time they just trip up the reader. Plus, dramatic pauses are kind of gimmicky and they often seem staged.

Good to know. I'm writing YA coming of age fiction with the requisite amount of angst. I can ask my beta-readers whether or not it trips them up, I guess.

Your writing should build tension without having to show your reader that they should be feeling tense. Just showing not telling really.

Thanks! BTW I didn't even know that was a book. Before the first movie version, I presume?

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by Kaelyn Barron | 2 comments

The Ellipsis: What Is It and How Should You Use It Image

And who’s counting, right?

Well, it turns out you should be counting, after all. Those 3 (yep! 3!!) dots are actually called an ellipsis, and they come with some pretty well-defined rules for how you ought to use them.

But fear not—we’ve broken down all those rules for you here, with helpful examples and style guide recommendations so you never have to worry about counting dots again.

What Is an Ellipsis?

The ellipsis is used to indicate the omission of words or phrases from a written text. In fact, the term itself comes from the Greek élleipsis , meaning “omission” or “falling short.”

You might see ellipses used for this purpose in transcripts or selected quotes, in which omitting certain words doesn’t alter the intended meaning.

For example, if you’re writing an essay for your literature class and want to quote a certain character, you might eliminate some phrases that aren’t necessary in order to be more concise. In this case, you would use an ellipsis to indicate that words have been omitted from the original quote.

Additionally, the ellipsis can be used to indicate a pause in speech or dialogue . However, this technique should only be used in fictional writing.

How Many Dots Are in an Ellipsis?

An ellipsis itself contains 3 dots. However, if the ellipsis follows a grammatically complete sentence, then that sentence requires its own period. Thus, the period plus the ellipsis will look like 4 dots placed together, even though the ellipsis itself still contains just 3 dots.

Spacing Between Dots

You might notice that the spacing between dots appears differently in different texts.

That’s because the different style guides take their own stances when it comes to spacing in ellipses.

The Chicago Manual of Style , for example, advocates for a space between each dot, while the AP Stylebook calls for spaces only before and after the ellipsis. Note the difference between the 2 examples below:

Chicago: I just think . . . maybe it’s better if we leave early.

AP Style: I just think … maybe it’s better if we leave early.

Examples of Ellipses in Sentences

See the examples of ellipses in sentences below for a better understanding of when and how you can use them. Note that we’re abiding by the Chicago Style Manual ‘s rules for these examples (see explanation above).

Learn How to Use Ellipses

Ellipses can be useful tools for enhancing dialogue in creative writing, and they can conveniently make quotations more concise in nonfiction writing.

By learning how to use ellipses, colons , semicolons , and other punctuation marks correctly, you can make your writing more effective and avoid some of the most common mistakes .

What are some punctuation marks you still have questions about? Let us know in the comments below!

If you found this post helpful, then you might also like:

Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Helen Simpson

I have an Ellipisis that I use to get on the internet. You didn’t mention I need a phone number for them. Helen

Kaelyn Barron

Hi Helen, I don’t really understand your comment. What phone number do you need?

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