Are there any . . . out there?


There are numerous forms of punctuation, all useful when applied properly – often hilarious when they are not. One which seems ignored is the ellipsis. This series of (dots, periods, points – choose your favorite term) is . . . to indicate an omission, suspension, or to emphasis as in “ta-dah.” So, why is this important?

When writing dialogue, this is a simple and powerful way to emphasize what your actor is saying.

He is a nice person, in a way,”

He is a nice . . . person, . . . in a way.”

People do not always speak uninterrupted. They hem-haw and falter, thinking while speaking to deliver the right or politically correct thought – or avoid what they really want to say. The writer can use an ellipsis to emphasize what the actor is saying and perhaps thinking at the same time.

If you were to drink his blood now, the drug saturating his body would knock you out, too, . . . and you’d miss all the fun,”

Smart mouth. Get out of here before I . . .”

The Chicago Manual of Style, — the writer’s bible, — covers what is termed, “Stream of Consciousness and Interior Monologue.” (Section 10.45) Ellipses are detailed in length at 10.48 to 10.63. Use of punctuation with the ellipsis is addressed at 10.39.

“The ship . . . oh my God! . . . are we sinking? I don’t to . . .”  Rosie screamed.

You will many see creative variations, but the correct form is three . . . with a space between each. Punctuation is placed after a phrase where appropriate, the ellipses between it and the next, separated by a standard (1) space before and after. (Example above)

This small device can add power to dialogue and commentary when used properly.

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