Ellipsis Mania…

April 6, 2006

After some healthy debate here at work, I believe the quality of our lives have all been improved by coming to a deeper understanding of the ellipsis (three dots which signify trailing off). For those who turned up late:

  • An ellipsis is three dots long.
  • In HTML, you can use the entity … to signify a horizontal ellipsis (as opposed to the vertical ellipssis, which we'll ignore for simplicity's sake).
  • In Microsoft Word (and WordPress for that matter), three full stops will automatically be converted to an ellipsis, much in the same way quotation marks and apostrophes are converted into left and right quotation marks and apostrophes.

Here are the important points:

  • In the middle of a sentence, an ellipsis should be surrounded by spaces. For example, "I can't believe it … you seriously did that with your mum?!" is correct.
  • At the end of a sentence, there is no spacing around the ellipsis, but to be perfectly correct, there should be a full stop after the ellipsis. So, "I just can't believe it…." is correct. However, this practice is pretty rarely used, so "I just can't believe it…" is acceptable.

Note that this is just my understanding, but I'm pretty sure it's correct. If anyone can correct me, feel free to do so.


3 Responses to “Ellipsis Mania…”

  1. neilmoog said

    Dude…your really getting your nerd on!

  2. Andrew said

    That’s right. More confusing is that an ellipsis in the middle of a sentence can mean a pause or that something is missing, although typically if it means something is missing you’d surround it with square brackets like […] this.

    Ellipsis rule… I totally over use them…

  3. Paul said

    Ellipis rule? Don’t you mean ellipses…?

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