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?

When three dots are used beside each other with a space on both sides, they make a punctuation mark called ellipsis mark (plural: ellipses).

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 are trailing off

Showing Omitted Parts in Sentences

Sometimes we rather 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 to stand for the omitted parts. Compare these 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 refer to a sense of suspense or we can indicate a pause. Suspense is something that you feel excited about or not familiar with. Here are a few examples:

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

I wondered … maybe you could act more mature.

Showing Thoughts That Are Trailing Off

When you do not get to 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 learn its rules one by one.

Ellipses at the Beginning of the Sentence

One of the ways to show that a part of a quotation is omitted is to use the ellipsis 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 but to use a space at the beginning and at the end of 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 the Sentences

When ellipses stand for a phrase or word at the end of a sentence based on the mood of the sentence they can be followed by a period, exclamation mark, or question mark. In this case, we should use a space then the ellipsis, then we use another space, 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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