Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday Tip: Ellipsis Points

Tuesday Tip

Many people overuse ellipsis points. Are you one of them? If you are, readers may be more likely to remember your work for the punctuation marks than the story itself. When used sparingly, ellipsis points can be quite effective.

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), "Ellipsis points suggest faltering or fragmented speech accompanied by confusion, insecurity, distress, or uncertainty, and they should be reserved for that purpose."

They often work well in the middle of a sentence or when one speaker interrupts another in a dialogue section.

Here are some examples:

1. Fragmented Speech (per CMOS #13.39):

  •  "I ... I mean, we ... yeah, we weren't doing anything wrong," David said.

2.   Omissions (per CMOS #13.48):

  • "But why can't we..."

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