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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 (...), or
2. a pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…).

Normal ellipsis
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.

Loose ellipsis
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 satisfactory solution because:

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).

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