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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Do, dot, dot ... ellipsis? ...

At some point in my sleep last night, ellipses silhouetted against my moonlit bedroom's window and tazed me (as in 'Tazered') on the forehead, “We're being lengthened and shortened and misused.” I woke up, and decided: the ellipsis would be avenged and justice restored.

Proper usage of the ellipsis …

1) We use an ellipsis ( … ) to indicate the deletion of one or more words in texts. Be careful, however, not to distort the meaning of the sentence by deleting words.

2) Spacing Requirements: Leave one space on both sides of an ellipsis: I … would be very happy if my friends use the ellipses correctly. ...

3) The ellipsis has 3 dots—not 5, nor 10, nor 20—like so ...

4) If the words that precede an ellipsis form a grammatically complete sentence, then place a period, a space, and then the ellipsis: I wish I could go to Spain. …

I am using [The Associated Press Stylebook] conventions. You may, however, use the ellipsis without any spacing like so...Or like this... with one space, but not like that.......
It is a matter of style whether you use spacing. Just pick one style and stick with it.

Here are some examples of how to use the ellipses in Thomas Paine's:

Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. …
… Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. ...

There is a lot more to the ellipsis, but I think this is enough to get you going. … Happy writing.

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