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Posts Tagged ‘Using ellipses’

Wow! Time has slipped past me at lightning speed. I can’t believe it has been so long since I have written a new blog post. I took a little break to travel, spend time with family, and rethink my blog.

When I first started my blog, I thought I knew what direction to go. I would combine my life coaching with my writing knowledge and voila; I would have an instant hit. I was thrilled when I started gaining followers and getting comments. Yippee! I thought. I am a blogger. Then I started putting out feelers, asking my blog readers if I was going in the right direction. I learned that maybe I wasn’t. After considering people’s comments, I concluded that my first posts were possibly too heavy on the life coaching side and too light on the writing side. Today, I continue to try to find my way as a blogger. One thing I know for sure is that my number one goal is to remain authentic in my blogging journey and to have that shine through in my posts. I hope you will bear with me as I plant my blogger seeds, dig in my roots, and grow. In the process, I will do my best to offer value in my posts.

ELLIPSES

Today, I offer my thoughts on something that picture book writers often use; the ellipsis point (sometimes referred to as the ellipsis mark). We use these marks to indicate the omission of words, faltering or interrupted dialogue, or to create a pause. In my years of reviewing other writer’s work, I have noticed that the ellipsis mark is often used or formatted incorrectly.

According the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, ellipsis points are three spaced periods (. . .), sometimes preceded or followed by other punctuation. They must always appear together on the same line, but preceding punctuation may appear at the end of the line above. This is a minute portion of what the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE has to say about ellipses.

FORMATTING

Most commonly in the US, there is a space between each dot, and there are only three dots, unless other punctuation is involved. When there is no punctuation, there should be a space after the last word before the first dot in the ellipsis point. The following is an example of an ellipsis point used in dialogue to indicate an interruption.

Jack said, “I meant to say . . .”

“Meant to say what?” Emily interrupted.

Following is a breakdown of the above example: “I meant to say(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)”

When an ellipsis is used between words, there should be a space after the last word before the ellipsis. There should also be a space after the last ellipsis dot before the next word. Following is an example.

“I . . . um . . . hmm . . . guess so.”

Following is a breakdown of the above example: “I(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space) um(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)hmm(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)guess so.”

If there is a full sentence that ends in a period, there should be four spaced dots with the first dot (period) immediately following the last word of the sentence. Following is an example.

Emily loved her time with her grandparents, except for one thing. . . .

Following is a breakdown of the above example: Emily loved her time with her grandparents, except for one thing(period)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)(space)(dot)

This is only a partial description and explanation of ellipses. There are many rules and uses. The rules get even more complicated when using ellipses to indicate eliminated words in a quote. The purpose of this little blurb is to bring writers’ awareness to the proper spacing and use of these little dot, dot, dots. Not wanting  to risk giving you wrong information by providing further examples, I offer the following: If you want to ensure that you are using these little dots correctly in your writing, I encourage you to go to the library and spend some time with a style or grammar manual. Odds are, if you refer to THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, your head will swim, but it will be worth it.

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