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Quotation and Ellipsis

Sep 6, 2022

Three dots (…) used to indicate eliminated parts of a source that we wish not to be quoted is called ellipsis. 

Writing with an Ellipsis  

The eliminated parts of a source can include the passage of time, an unfinished thought, or text from a quotation (that does not affect the meaning of the quotation) is called an ellipsis. 

Facts about Ellipsis 

  1. An ellipsis in its adjective form is elliptical or elliptic, and ellipses is the plural form. 
  2. An elliptical expression or elliptical clause is the first definition of ellipsis. 
  3. The Greek meaning is “to leave out” or “fall short.” 
  4. In her book “Developing a Written Voice,” Dona Hickey notes that ellipsis encourages readers to “supply what isn’t there by stressing heavily what is.” 

What are Ellipses? 

A punctuation mark that consists of three dots or periods is called an ellipsis (…) (ellipses is the plural form of ellipsis).  

Example 1: 

  • Ellipses can be tricky. … Use with care. 

Apply the same punctuation sequence when the grammar preceding an ellipsis calls for a question mark, exclamation point, comma or colon. 


Example 2: 

  • Where should the ellipsis go? … That was easy. 

Ellipsis is used in the following:

  1. Text messages 
  2. Emails  
  3. Social networking 

But the ellipsis serves a particular use in both formal and informal styles of writing.  

Now let’s study simple guidelines as to when ellipses should be used — and when they should not. 

When to Use Ellipsis? 

The two purposes of ellipses in text are the following  

  • Indicates an omission within a piece of text 
  • Shows a pause in a character’s dialogue (or “trailing off” at the end of dialogue) 

Where Ellipses Are Put into Use: 

  • For omission in news reports. 
  • For omission in formal writing such as academic papers and published research. 
  • Pauses in dialogue in stories and novels have a very different effect. 

Use of Ellipsis in Quotation 

Ellipsis is found to be most useful when working with quoted materials 

When the quoted material is altered in any way, the reader needs to be indicated that it has been done so.  

The three dots (… ) is used to indicate eliminated parts of a source that we wish not to be quoted. 

There are various methods of deploying ellipses 

1. An ellipsis is used to omit information at the beginning as well as at the end of quotes. 

With quoted material, we can use an ellipsis to indicate an omission at the beginning, within, or at the end of a sentence.  

  • Daniel remarked, “… and I will arrive until 8:20 p.m.” (AT THE BEGINNING) 
  • Macbeth reminded her, “The school day at all schools…begins at 8:00 a.m.” (WITHIN) 
  • Jennifer explained, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to arrive on time…” (AT THE END) 

Note: When the omission is at the end of a sentence, however, appropriate punctuation must be inserted to end the sentence (a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark) and then add the ellipsis. 

2. An ellipsis can also be used to omit whole sentences in quotations. 

With quoted material, use an ellipsis to indicate that a whole sentence or more or a whole paragraph or more has been omitted between sentences.  

Remember to first use appropriate punctuation (a period, a question mark, or an exclamation mark) to end the sentence that precedes the ellipsis. 

Example: The lecturer instructed, “First, make certain you take books at all the workshops. Transcribe your books while the material is still fresh in your mind… finally, always date your pages of books.” 

3. Ellipsis for omitted material within a single quoted sentence 

We can ellipsis points to show omission within the quotation. we have to omit any punctuation on either side of the ellipsis, unless the punctuation is necessary to make the shortened quotation grammatically correct. 

4. Ellipsis used for omitted material spanning two or more sentences 

In a quotation which is presented as a single sentence made up of material from two or more original sentence, ellipses should be used for all omitted segments. 

Writing with an Ellipsis 

An ellipsis is a series of three dots ( . . . ) which shows that some text has been left out. 

Omitted material can include: 

  • The passage of time. 
  • An unfinished thought. 
  • Text from a quotation that does not affect the meaning of the quotation.  


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