Ellipses Update and Apologies.

293df8e7edf3110832d4ac4c0257881b83Out of everything written from yesterday’s post, I would not have guessed that the illusive ellipses would garner the most attention.

Yes, I didn’t scratch the surface. And yes, I’m well aware that writing the ellipses wrong…is annoying.

I would like to formally apologize to anyone who took what I said yesterday as gospel. Especially involving the ellipses, I’m well aware that I use it wrong, write it wrong, and I’m sorry.

The proper way to write with an ellipses is with a space between each letter, except when the ellipses travels to a different line. The Chicago Manual of Style states to look for another form of continuation mark, or rewrite the sentence in this case.

However you want to look at it: Proper use of an ellipses: [Space][Period][Space][Period][Space][Period][Space]

There are certain fonts which contain an ellipses mark, however I’m not sure I would trust them in a professional setting. Even while making a presentation for public speaking, I’d rather type out the proper form of the ellipses than look for a pretty font.

There are two main rules to keep in mind to for using ellipsis:

1. While quoting or citing a source and the need arises to shorten the source for whatever reason. I believe I went over this example yesterday, however I can give another one now:

  • “Snappy the pet turtle escaped from his cage, made his way out of the house, traveled into the road, and was run over.”
  • “Snappy the pet turtle . . . was run over.”

Both are quotes, and both are acceptable. Whatever you do, NEVER change the meaning of the original quote. Ever.

2. Ellipsis show the author or dialog faltering or thinking, possibly struggling to come up with the right words at that moment. This is common in comic books, which may explain where I first picked up on the idea the more I looked into the origin of the ellipses. In older Peanuts comic strips, artist Charles Shultz often ended his sentences with ellipses to give the reader “an idea that something more was coming.” For everyday writing, however, ellipses outside of dialog show fragmented speech and deep mental confusion according to the Chicago Manual of Style. In most cases it is better to use an “em-dash” to indicate a stronger feeling of direct thought instead of a wandering thought pattern of unevenness. For example:

  • “I wonder . . . was that vase here when we walked in?”
  • “I don’t remember seeing that vase when we walked in — I wonder if someone was here before us.”

This way the reader has an idea of certainty about the thought pattern instead of the mental instability I possess.

Again, I’m sorry if anyone read yesterday’s post of took something away incorrect. Not my intention at all.

If there is ever any question, feel free to comment or send me an email.

-Chris

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One thought on “Ellipses Update and Apologies.

  1. Pfft. Your blog yesterday was great and your use of ellipses is entirely appropriate. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post and didn’t take it as gospel at all. I’ve been an editor for corporations, magazines and novels – and every one of them use different style guides. And the English have different rules to the Americans have different rules to the Australians… (. . .)

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