Friday, September 21, 2012

Grammar Day: Ellipses


Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Ellipses

I'm letting my geeky nature show through once again: ellipses are one of my very favorite grammatical pieces.


Definition: An ellipsis is more commonly referred to as 'dot dot dot'. It's this beautiful punctuation mark: ...

Spelling: Ellipsis is singular; ellipses is plural.

What's the point? This lovely 'dot dot dot' is used in both scholarly writings and novels. In a scholarly piece, an ellipsis is used when a portion of a quote is removed. The ellipsis is placed in brackets, to show that it is not part of the quoted words.

The popular hymn states, "Amazing grace [...] that saved a wretch like me."
In a creative work, the ellipsis can be used to show words trailing off. 
He ran a hand through his hair. "I suppose that's okay..."
 It can also be used as part of a sentence.
"Well, no...but I had thought that, too."
Capitalization: When an ellipsis is in the middle of a sentence, the following word is not capitalized.
"We know that...and there was something else we were suppose to remember."
When the sentence trails off and a new one begins, there should be a space after the ellipsis, and the following word should be capitalized.
"She said... Well, I don't remember now."
I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

Have a grammatical question? Email me at Jansina@rivershorebooks.com to learn the answer--and have your question featured in an upcoming Grammar Day post! I'm here to help and encourage in any way I can.

Visit my website to learn more about me, my books, and my proofreading services, or join the Rivershore Books Writing Forum for support from fellow authors.

Still want more? Find me on FacebookPinterestTumblr, and Twitter!

3 comments:

Shaylynn said...

You'd be surprised how many people look at you blankly when you say ellipses... and not believe you when you tell them that three dots actually has a name. :)

Shaylynn said...

Is it grammatically correct to use ellipses as I just did in that comment? I do it all the time and I think it might be wrong... (like that <-- I tend to use it for trailing thoughts!)

Jansina said...

Hehe. :)

I think using it for trailing thoughts is correct. I use it a lot myself! (Though sparingly in professional writing.) Just know that when the sentence is continued after the ellipsis, there is no space.

I thought...you were different.

When a new sentence starts, there's a space and the next word is capitalized.

I thought... Nevermind.

:)