Ellipses and Suspension Points

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Most people think of an ellipsis as the three dots. Yes, well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Quite frankly, there’s a lot more to it than that, but rather than bamboozle you all (and myself!) I will concentrate on the key points. If you have any questions outside of what I cover, please feel free to leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer. Basically, when something is missing it’s an ellipsis, and when those three dots are used with interrupted speech or hesitancy, they are called suspension points.

The New Oxford Style Manual defines an ellipsis (plural ellipses) as “a series of points (…) signalling that words have been omitted from quoted matter, or that part of a text is missing or illegible”.

Some reference guides suggest spaces between the three dots, but most stipulate a space either side also. A rising trend…

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