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When and How to Use the Dot Dot Dot or the Ellipsis

Not every writer knows how to properly use the ellipsis or in simple words the dot dot dot. Unfortunately, this punctuation mark is misused most often. That is why if you want to become a professional writer, it is a must to learn how and when to use the ellipsis. 

Due to the fact that the dot dot dot is frequently used in informal writing, people confuse its usage and ignore the punctuation rule. It is absolutely acceptable to use the ellipsis when you want to show that some information is missing or when you want to make a pause. However, it is recommended not to overuse the dot dot dot so as not to lose its main meaning. Read further to get to know when you can use the ellipsis. 

How the Dot Dot Dot Should Look Like

Well, everything is simple, you need to put three dots. Remember, not four or five dots, three will be just enough. They should be evenly spaced and separated by equal spaces from the text on both sides.

He was not quite sure what should have been said … she warned that driving in such terrible weather was not a good idea. 

The only instance where more than three dots can be used is when the dot dot dot is out at the end of the sentence. In such case you should put the period after the ellipsis:

She warned that driving in such terrible weather was not a good idea. She had nothing else to say ….  

When the Ellipsis Should Be Used

  • To inform the potential readers that some information is missing

When you use the dot dot dot in the middle of your statement, the reader understands that some information is missing. For instance, you may quote some passage but pay attention only to the most important facts:

According to the school rules, mobile phones are not allowed to be used at the lessons because students should be studying at this time.

This statement could be quoted as follows:

“According to the school rules, mobile phones are not allowed to be used at the lessons . . .”

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  •  To show that the writer omitted an extended paragraph

If you want to omit a long paragraph in your quotation, you should use the ellipsis after the last punctuation, which ends the foregoing paragraph. 

  • To indicate a break or a pause in thought

When you want to make a break or a pause in a sentence, you can use the ellipsis.

I do comprehend the predicament … in fact, no! I warned you that driving in such weather is dangerous for people’s lives.  

Some Rules You Should Follow:

  • You can use the ellipsis at the beginning of the quotation in case you need to omit the opening clause.
  • When you use the ellipsis to show that information is missing, you should provide the original sentence without paraphrasing it. 
  • Follow your style guide on using the ellipsis in order to meet the requirements.

In case you still hesitate about the correct usage of ellipsis, we are here to help you with proofreading your paper.

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