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Ellipsis Dots Punctuation in Writing


When and how to use ellipsis dots in writing.

Ellipsis Dots are used:

  1. To signify an omission:  Ellipsis is the term for omission of words or paragraphs from a quotation.  It is indicated by the use of three period dots.  (  )

  2. To indicate a pregnant pause:  Ellipsis dots can be used to signify hesitation by the writer.  Often a writer will use ellipsis when attempting to conceal something or when unable to write directly about the matter.

  3. To indicate an unfinished thought:  Ellipsis dots are used when the writer’s thoughts trail off. 

Three dots mean that the omission, pause or unfinished thought is within the sentence.  The three dots follow any punctuation within a sentence and a space is left before the series of dots and after the last dot, before the next word in the sentence.

Four dots
indicate that the omission, pause or unfinished thought is between sentences.  The fourth dot is actually a period ending the sentence.

Back to Punctuation Page

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