Help! I’m an Ellipsis Addict!

by limebirdwriters

Reading back over past pieces of work, something really stands out to me and that is that I use ellipses… A LOT. See there I go again! It’s like a proper disease or something, I’m not sure what exactly I’m intending to happen with them, because I don’t even use them for suspense or anything.

So, I’ve had a look into it and the dictionary definition of an Ellipsis is: “… a series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word, sentence or whole section from the original text being quoted. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence. When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech or any other form of text.” I say dictionary, but I stole that from Wikipedia (sos about that), but it pretty much does the job.

So, when are we supposed to use the ellipsis?

Using An Ellipsis to Show an Omission

Normally used in non-fiction writing like news stories or essays, one of the most seen uses of the ellipsis is using it to show that a word has been omitted. So, let’s say you’ve quoted someone but you don’t want to use all of the words, you can use the ellipsis to show where you have dropped some of the words. Formatting of these is normally in brackets, like this – […] , but guidelines can vary depending on who uses them, so it’s probably best to check first!

Using It In Stories and Novels

In fiction, the ellipsis is used a bit differently. Mainly for pauses in narrative or speech, or even trailing off…. (see what I did there!)

From what I can see, there is no ‘official’ format for these little dots in fiction writing, but it seems to normally be three dots, which is followed by a space. Although some people do use more dots, to show a longer pause I would imagine?

On The Internet

Also over the past few years, the ellipsis has risen in popularity in internet chat rooms and texts, to indicate silence or trailing off. I think this is more what I use it for…. I tend to see so many people using these now in conversations, I can only assume it’s because it adds a different dimension.

I’ve had some friends that have said that they do not like the ellipsis. My first thought was I’m not sure how much longer we are going to be friends, and secondly the more I think about, they can be a bit annoying. This is only in the case of EXCESSIVE use. As I have mentioned before, I can hold my hands up to the fact that I am a series user and abuser of those little three dots. They’re my friends really. Note to self, make names for each dot.

Btw, if anyone wants to buy me this t shirt, I won’t be complaining… (argh – I’m not even trying to put them in!)

T Shirt

So, does anyone else have Ellipsis-itis…? Right there it is again? OH GOD! Someone please stop me before it gets so bad that I don’t writeactualwordsanymoreandit’salldots! Ahhh!


15 Comments to “Help! I’m an Ellipsis Addict!”

  1. HAH someone commented to me yesterday that i do that alot….

  2. Lol you should see the emails I get from my mum. I literally just received an email from her before logging on here, so thought I’d count the elipses… I counted FORTY-TWO in a single email of less than 500 words.

  3. Right there with you… Sister 😉

  4. I really love ellipsis’ especially in this digital age, we spend a lot of time communicating through text rather than speech and although proper punctuation can portray inflection it doesn’t really get across the rhythm of speech. I pause quite a lot while speaking and I find the ellipsis very helpful in that sense….so yes i believe i am an addict also :).

  5. I…have the same problem…

  6. I assume that any text I receive that ends with an ellipsis is trying to communicate that the texter is mad at me. Even if it says, “I love you…” What’s the dot dot dot for?! WHAT’S IT FOR?! Does the fact that you love me make you sad? Uncertain? Ready to say something else? It’s a constant cliff-hanger.

    That being said, I overuse it like a champ. I’m much worse with dashes, though.

    • Thanks for your comment. I love you name!

      Haha! This made me laugh. I guess that is true in some sense, like if you say “Are you mad at me?” and they say “No….” You can tell they are!

      Oh gosh – I’m terrible with dashes too!

  7. The post and comments made me smile a lot… I have dash and ellipses problems too (does that sound a bit like some sort of horrible illness? I also have parentheses abuse problems).

  8. Hehe, I was just looking back over some old LimeBird post and saw this one… I also find myself over-using ellipses and dashes where I should probably be using commas, full-stops (periods, for Americans out there) and semi-colons.

    I don’t think it’s too much of a problem in informal text or dialogue, but I try and steer clear if I’m writing formally, body text or when I remember…

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