Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek
"omission") is a mark
or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a
word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a
pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a
trailing off into silence (aposiopesis).
When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can
also inspire a
feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in
speech. Most editors precede the ellipsis by a space, even at the end
of a sentence.
Some of the right ways to use an ellipsis include… :
1. The intentional omission of words
All employers must honor the minimum wage requirement….
The original sentence read:
All employers must honor the minimum wage requirement or
risk paying a fine.
2. A pause in speech
“I think I just got an… interview!”
3. An unfinished thought
“Now, where on earth did I put that…?”
4. A sentence that trails into silence
“I thought you might say that….”
The most common form of an ellipsis is:
1. a row of three periods with spaces between them (. . .) or no spaces
2. a pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…).
Microsoft Word changes three periods in a row (no spaces between them)
to a single special ellipsis character (glyph) when its AutoCorrect
feature is active. It can also be created in Word by press ALT + CTRL +
. on the keyboard.
Some Microsoft Word users may find the dots to be too close together in
a normal ellipsis and prefere to create their own.
Simply placing a space between the periods may not be a
1. The spaced three period "ellipsis" may break at the
end of a line
leaving one or two periods behind.
2. The spacing between periods will vary from one
ellipsis to another
in justified text.
A solution to prevent these breaks and variable spacing is to use a
non-breaking space between the periods (ALT + CTRL + SPACE). As well as
between the periods, a non-breaking space could be placed before the
first period when the ellipsis comes at the end of a phrase, and after
the ellipsis when the ellipsis comes at the beginning of a phrase. This
will keep the ellipsis from breaking away from its associated phrase.
Some will find this solution not to be totally satisfactory because the
non-breaking-spaces between the periods may create more space than they
want. The spaces can be made smaller by highlighting the space and
reducing the font size of the non-breaking space to suit your needs.
Keep this ellipsis handy so you can simply copy and paste it when
needed, rather than going through the procedure of re-creating it every
time you need one.
All the above Word functions will translate well when loaded into a
page layout program (like InDesign).