Ellipsis …

Ellipsis is a set of three dots (called periods in US) to indicate:

(it is a SIN to use more than three and be careful not to overuse like the exclamation mark!)

1.   An omission such as a portion of quoted material.

2.   It also indicates a pause in speech.


In informal writing ellipsis can be used to show a trailing off (or pause) in thought.


“If only I’d revised…well it’s too late to do more now.”  Alice walked into the exam hall.

Ellipsis can also be used to show hesitation.


“I did revise…well, a bit…OK, I watched Eastenders….but then I revised.”


Interestingly, if you type… the computer will recognise ellipsis whereas if you type. . . with spaces between the dots, a Word document will see this as a grammatical error underlining it in green.


Computing even recognises ellipsis rather than just being three dots: ‘Rather than typing three full stops ellipsis actually has its own glyph as the … HTML entity.’

Ellipses (plural) can also be used for omitting information in quotations.  There are different styles which are explained here:





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