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!

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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 were different.

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

I thought... Nevermind.