Ellipses are like pauses. They are also known as “dot-dot-dot”. Yes, they are those three dots (...) that you see from time to time while reading. If you see an ellipsis in dialogue it’s because the character paused in their speech.
The proper way to type an ellipsis is by spacing the first dot away from the last word you typed as if you are writing a new word. Then make another space, hit the period button again, and repeat until you have three spaced-out dots. Three dots are used if more words come after it . . . like this.
Treat an ellipsis as if it is a word. If the ellipsis is at the end of a sentence and a punctuation mark would normally end that sentence then add the punctuation mark right after the ellipsis. Example: Hello . . .?
If the sentence is complete, a period should be place after the last word as usual and followed by an ellipsis, like this. . . .
TIP: For more information on ellipses please don’t rely solely on me, go to grammar sites to learn more!
Now that you’ve had a small lesson in ellipses I should mention that many writers say not to use them, because a lot of people throw them into their writing wherever they want. They are even overused on Facebook. Heck, I overuse them on Facebook! But for a book (or short story), you don’t need them in every piece of dialogue to show a pause. There are many other ways to do this. You can have your character look away or bite his/her lip before continuing with what he/she was saying. “You can even do this.” She paused. “And then start the dialogue back up again.”
I believe in the use of caution while using ellipses, as using too many of them can affect the prose. But I don’t believe that a writer can’t use them at all. I like to use them because what comes after an ellipsis is usually damned good! Sometimes a statement can follow it that will cause dread or insight. And when it is used at the end of a sentence it can instill suspense. In my book, that’s always a plus!
QUESTION: Do you use ellipses in your writing?
Stay tuned! You won’t believe what I have planned for next Tuesday . . .! ;)
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