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Ellipses

Metaphors       Similes       Writing to a Brief

An ellipsis is three periods, or full stops, one after the other.  It is always constructed in this manner.  It is always three periods, or full stops.  It is never less than three.

The periods creating an ellipsis are called ellipsis points or ellipsis marks.  The plural of ellipsis is ellipses.

An ellipsis is used to indicate missing words, or sentences.   For example, if the original sentence was “the dolphins were playing with the waves and having a wonderful time”, it can be changed to “The dolphins were playing … having a wonderful time”.

An ellipsis is often used by writers to indicate a pause in the flow of thought.  Eg: “If only … but there was no use in wishing for the past.”

When an ellipsis appears in mid sentence, then a space is left either side of the ellipsis. Eg: “He wanted to say something special … but his mind remained blank” or “She reminded him of someone … or something”.

When an ellipsis is placed at the end of a sentence, it indicates there are words missing at the end of the sentence.  A space is left between the last word and the ellipsis and another space is placed between the ellipsis and the period ending the sentence.

Eg: The original statement is “She reminded him of someone he knew a long time ago.”  When an ellipsis is placed at the end of a minimised form of this sentence, it becomes “She reminded him of … .” 

When an ellipsis is in-between two complete sentences, then a space is left after the full stop finishing the previous sentence, and another space is given before the next sentence starts.

Ellipses are used to:

  • Represent a pause in the flow of a sentence.  It shows an undercurrent of thought.

  • Link an original thought with the final thought.
    Eg:  We had so many dreams … where did they go?

  • Show the person speaking has retreated into their own private thought processes. 
    Eg:  “I didn’t know he …” Peter said, in his usual distracted manner.

  • Indicate missing text

 

 

 

 


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