A-Z Challenge 2015: E is for Ellipsis

What is Ellipsis? An ellipsis (…) is three dots used to show that words have been omitted from a quotation or to create a pause for effect. More specifically, an ellipsis can be used:

  • To show an omission of a word or words (including whole sentences) from a text.
  • To create a pause for effect.
  • To show an unfinished thought.
  • To show a trail off into silence.


The quote below by Oscar Wilde from The Picture of Dorian Gray has been shortened by using an ellipses. 

“Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! … Was there anything so real as words?” 

 I used ellipses when writing papers in College when I would quote excerpts from articles, etc. Do you have some examples you’d like to share?

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6 Responses

  1. Liesel Hill says:

    Thank you for this definition! I’m going to send a screenshot to my critique group. I use ellipses a lot to show pauses and hesitations from my characters (probably overuse it, tbh) but my group always cuts them because they don’t understand what words I’m omitting. They don’t understand that you can use this to just show a pause! Glad to find an actual definition somewhere. Happy Easter! 😀

    • R.K. Grow says:

      Thanks Liesel. I realized after going to your website to read some of your editing tips that we were not supposed to post on Sunday. So I have scheduled my E to go out tomorrow. I will also have some examples. I’ve got all of mine done but some still need examples.I hope this helps. Let me know if you need me to send the information since it is hiding now. 🙂 Happy Easter to you too! I am hoping we can finally meet at your Botanist signing in Layton.

  2. betty says:

    I didn’t know what these were called, but I do use them a lot, sometimes in blog posts 🙂


  3. monti7 says:

    I love to use ellipses, but some people hate them. I’ve tried to cut back!

  4. marissoule says:

    Many writers, I’ve discovered, have a difficult time deciding if they should use an ellipse or an em-dash. For me, they’re perfect if it’s a thought that trails off as opposed to someone cutting off another speaker.

What are your thoughts?


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