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Another from Larry Edwards on Most Common Errors Writers Make – #7. Three Dots and Out: Give Your Ellipsis Elbow Room

Polishing Your Prose

From the Editor’s Eye
The 10 Most Common Errors Made by Writers
(And How to Fix Them)

The fourth of a ten-part series.

#7. Three Dots and Out: Give Your Ellipsis Elbow Room

Ellipsis points indicate omitted text or, in dialogue, hesitation. Ellipses are also used in “three-dot journalism” (gossip columns) to give the impression of rambling thoughts.

An ellipsis comprises three points or dots. Sometimes you see four dots, but that’s when the mark is used at the end of a complete sentence—the first dot is the “period” at the end of the sentence, followed by the three dots of the ellipsis. This usage is common in academic works when the writer includes an excerpt from reference material and leaves out some of the text.

Ellipsis%20Recite_620_380The ellipsis is separated from the text by a space before and after. None of the three dots is a period—that’s a separate…

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