Ellipses in creative writing

How To Use an Ellipsis… Correctly

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Ellipses in creative writing



Joe here. Please note that I created the title above as an intentionally incorrect use of ellipses. Anyway, on to the post! Liz here. Here at the Write Practice, we have love for all punctuation marks: commas, semicolons, question marks. An ellipsis is a trio of periods … that serve as a placeholder for text.

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!

They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Was there anything so real as words? If I were editing this quote to be used in newsprint, where type space is precious, I might use an ellipsis to make it read as such:. Such as:. Too many ellipses can detract from the effectiveness of the prose and some readers and writers find it irritating to no end. If you have a mental space cadet for a main character, you might want to tone down your desire to use those dots.

You might wonder just how many dots should be in an ellipsis. The answer is that sometimes there are three! Sometimes there are four! There is no such thing as a four-dot ellipsis. A four-dot ellipsis is actually an ellipsis with a period at the end of it. When using ellipses in conjunction with other punctuation, whether they be commas, semicolons, question marks, or exclamation points, treat the ellipsis as though it was just another word in the sentence.

For example, if Chuck and Carlton just escaped an encounter with a rabid hamster, and are interviewed by the local paper, a journalist might choose to eliminate some of the more superfluous text. Never in a million years! Carlton almost got bitten, right after the thing started turning purple. Note that the exclamation point remains in place, while the ellipsis follows it to replace the omitted words.

This would be the same if other portions were eliminated. Need more grammar help? My favorite tool that helps find grammar problems and even generates reports to help improve my writing is… ProWritingAid. Works with Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, and web browsers. Also, be sure to use my coupon code to get 25 percent off: WritePractice Do you use ellipses in your writing? Let us know in the comments section. Write for fifteen minutes about a spacey-yet-brilliant fan of classic literature.

Use ellipses properly as your character spouts lines from Wilde , Shakespeare , Emerson , or their preferred writer. Download the step-by-step guide and learn how to become a writer today. Building an Author Website. Free Guide: Want to become a writer?

Get our free step guide to becoming a writer here and accomplish your dream today. Click here to download your guide instantly. Liz Bureman. Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly.

You can follow her on Twitter epbure , where she tweets more about music of the mids than writing. The Practicing Community. Rep Your Practice If you practice, let the people who read your blog know. Copy and paste the code for the button into your sidebar and show off your hard work. Add Comment. Cancel reply. Viewing Highlight.

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Using Ellipses

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