Ellipsis Punctuation

Ellipses is the plural form of ellipsis. They are three dots beside each other that stand for something. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

Ellipsis Punctuation in English

What Is Ellipsis?

An ellipsis mark is a punctuation symbol that consists of three dots () and is often used to indicate the omission of one or more words in a sentence.

Why Do We Use Ellipsis?

Ellipsis can be used:

  • to show an omitted word, phrase, or sentence
  • to show a pause or to create suspense
  • to show thought that is trailing off

Indicating Omitted Parts in Sentences

Sometimes, we want to shorten a sentence. In this case, we can omit additional information which was given in the original sentence. In this case, we need to use an ellipsis mark to stand for the omitted parts. Compare the examples:

We went to the cinema, had dinner, had a drink, and then came back home.

We went to the cinema … and then came back home.

Showing a Pause and Creating Suspense

By using ellipsis we can also create a sense of suspense or indicate a pause. Suspense is something that you feel excited or anxious about. Here are a few examples:

She opened the gift … and she saw the puppy … .

I wondered … maybe you could act more mature.

Using ellipsis to indicate a pause

Showing Thoughts That Are Trailing Off

When you do not reach the conclusion of thought or when they seem to fade away, we can use ellipsis. Here are the examples:

I would never believe … .

I know she called someone ... .

How to Use Ellipsis?

Ellipses can be used either at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a sentence. Let us explore its rules one by one.

Ellipses at the Beginning of the Sentence

One way to show that a part of a quotation is omitted is to use the ellipsis mark at the beginning of the sentence followed by a bracketed capital letter. Here are a few examples:

"... [A]fter we left the party, it happened," she said.

… [T]hey would never call me again, he said.

Ellipses in the Middle of the Sentences

Using ellipses in the middle of a sentence has no special rules other than using a space before and after the three dots. Here are a few examples:

Let me think … maybe he forgot to bring the gifts.

The slammed the door … and Boom! The window broke down.

Ellipses at the End of Sentences

When ellipses stand for an omitted phrase or word at the end of a sentence, depending on the mood of the sentence, they can be followed by a period, an exclamation mark, or a question mark. In this case, we should use a space before the ellipsis, and another space after it, and finally the punctuation at the end of the sentence. Check out these examples:

What were you thinking ...?

Wow ... !


Ellipsis (...) are used in a sentence to:

  • show an omitted word, phrase, or sentence
  • show a pause or to create suspense
  • trail off thoughts

Ellipses can be used in the following positions:

  • at the beginning
  • in the middle
  • at the end


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