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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (November 12, 2007)

Don't Slip with Ellipsis!

Ellipsis, a series of three periods with spaces, is made on your PC by hitting space, period, space, period, space, period, space. Ellipsis looks like this: . . .

To confuse matters further, I, as do many teachers, do not ask my students to use ellipsis to indicate omitted words at either the beginning or the end of a sentence when quoted. However, I do want students to indicate missing words from the middle of a sentence.

Common Uses of Ellipsis

When words are omitted within a sentence you are quoting.

E.g., "And George . . . had a little mental handicap radio in his ear." The original sentence reads, "And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear."

To indicate that a person speaking has his or her voice trail off (as if the person is lost in thought, for example).

E.g., "I was thinking about you the other day . . . ."

Note here that there is an extra period to indicate the end of the sentence.

To indicate a pause in a person speaking dialogue.

E.g., "I think . . . I think I'm going to come with you after all!"

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