An ellipsis or ellipses (plural), is a punctuation mark which means ‘omission’ or falling ‘short’. It consists of three dots in a series like this (…). According to Merriam Webster, An ellipsis can be defined as: “the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete”. Another definition that is found is as: “marks or a mark such as (…) indicates an omission (as of words) or a pause”. One more definition says that the commonly used series of three dots, which can be placed at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence or clause. These three dots can stand in for whole sections of text that are omitted that do not change the overall meaning.
Marks of an apunctuationplay very important role in giving intended meaning to the language. Before moving ahead we need to understand punctuation first. Punctuation means the marks, such as full stop, comma, and brackets, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning. Definition of punctuation according to Merriam Webster is “the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in a written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units are called punctuation”. Another definition of punctuation found is “the marks (such as periods and commas) in a piece of writing that make its meaning clear and that separate it into sentences, clauses, etc.” Use of the wrong mark of punctuation or even wrong placement of mark of punctuation can change the meaning of the sentence completely and sometimes even convert the sentence to complete nonsense.
Now that we have understood punctuation and its importance in the previous paragraph, let’s move towards the usage of ellipses as a part of punctuation. Ellipsis is used mostly when we omit something intentionally like:
Ellipses can express hesitation, changes of mood, suspense, or thoughts trailing off. Writers also use ellipses to indicate a pause or wavering in an otherwise straightforward sentence.
I don’t know … I’m not sure.
Pride is one thing, but what happens if she …?
He said, “I … really don’t … understand this.”
According to various style guides, an ellipsis is three periods, with a space in between each [..]. In general, there is also a space before and after the ellipsis. Some style manuals prefer three dots with no spaces in between […], and others still prefer the auto-formatted version of the ellipsis, with less than a full space in between each dot […]. Although this is less common now. Another type of usage of ellipsis is using ellipsis in the start of a sentence and put a bracket to the first letter by capitalizing it. For Example: “… [A]fter hours of careful thought, we vetoed the bill.”
Just as the usage of ellipsis in writing is growing up day by day, especially in novels. But sometimes the wrong usage of ellipsis makes you lose a reader. When a writer uses ellipsis without clarifying the thing in the first sentence. It is always used only when the reader is first made familiar with the thing which has to be replaced with ellipsis in future. So when you use them, the reader would know that what are these referring to, and it will prevent them to get confused or lose interest. Another mistake which is made by writers while using them is, using when there is nothing more. As this ellipsis represents that there is something more, but when you use it even when there is nothing more left, that is just enough to annoy the reader and to make him close the novel instantly. The main tip to use these ellipses is to keep the understanding of reader in your mind while pouring your heart out on your writing. By avoiding these “dot-dot-dot” mistakes you can make the reader stick to the novel.
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