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:

  • ellipses example: incorrect useage

    We love the irony of this sign and the passive-aggressive ellipsis. Regardless of the fact “irregardless” is an irritating nonstandard double-negative word, and the fact that “is” should be “are” because “memos” is plural, it had to be shared.

    DO remember that ellipses are used for only three things.

    1. 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.”
    2. To indicate that the speaker has left something unsaid. “If the shoe fits … ”
    3. 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 kiml@hollistercreative.com.

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