We’ve noticed an alarming trend … People keep leaving their ellipses all over the place … At the end of blog posts, in the middle of sentences, at the end of headlines … When you dot-dot-dot everything, we wonder if you can’t finish a thought … or fear commitment … or have passive-aggressive tendencies … But perhaps you’ve just forgotten what ellipses are for.
Thanks + Love,
PETE (People for the Ethical Treatment of Ellipses)
We get it – ellipses can be confusing. So let us (and PETE) help you. When it comes to using ellipses correctly, just follow these simple rules:
DO remember that ellipses are used for only three things.
- To indicate that some words have been omitted from a text or a quote. “I pledge allegiance to the flag… With liberty and justice for all.”
- To indicate that the speaker has left something unsaid. “If the shoe fits … ”
- To indicate hesitation. “Dear John, it’s not you, it’s…”
- DON’T add extra dots to an ellipsis to show you really, super, so-so-so mean it. “Anyone who doesn’t clean out the fridge on Friday will be penalized……….”
- DON’T mistake ellipses for three periods; they’re a distinctive punctuation mark. To make one in most programs, hit option+semicolon. It’s really satisfying, like a three-for-one sale. Go ahead, do it.
- DO make sure that use of ellipses doesn’t change the meaning or tone of your message. They can make a note sound terribly snarky. But if you like snarky notes, or want some hints on how to write them to co-workers and roommates, you’ll enjoy the postings at PassiveAggressiveNotes.com.
Need help with your writing? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email email@example.com.