iUniverse: How To Correctly Use Ellipses and Exclamation Points
Being a reader as well as an author you may have noticed the excessive use of ellipses and exclamation points. In this article, iUniverse Publishing presents several ideas on how to avoid overusing these punctuation marks.
The ellipsis is used to show readers that you have omitted words from a sentence or that you have omitted sentences from a quoted paragraph. When you have an ellipsis in the middle of a sentence, it is called a medial ellipsis. Authors also use ellipses to indicate that the person speaking has trailed off and left a sentence or a thought unfinished.
“No tale is so good…but can be spoilt in the telling.”
– Terence, 160 BC
“To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone – just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over….”
– John Hersey
An ellipsis usually consists of three periods or dots. Each dot in an ellipsis is called an ellipsis point. Some style manuals suggest using three ellipsis points at the end of a sentence. Others recommend using four, the fourth representing the period. At iUniverse, we use The Chicago Manual of Style, which states that you should use four ellipsis points at the end of a sentence instead of three. Most style manuals encourage us not to use ellipses at the beginning or end of quotations, but there are times when it’s unavoidable.