Ellipses and dashes? Where does Grammarly get its information?


The ellipsis? Grammarly reports the way I do them is incorrect. I say they are incorrect! : )

Without getting into long detail, if the way I do them is wrong, why are all the New York Times Best Seller's using the space, dot, space, dot, space, dot, space?  Example: "Uhh . . . call first." 


Where is Grammarly getting their information? I am wondering if the rules have changed recently with the publication of the 16th version of Chicago Manual of Style.


I have the same comment and question regarding dashes. The NYT best sellers all print dashes the opposite of ellipses and have NO spaces on either side.

Example: "They finished with more coffee--Aron now thought he wouldn't sleep for weeks--and fresh fruit and yogurt." 

asked Jan 26 '12 at 02:44 G. Scherphorn New member

2 answers


A style manual is a set of rules for a particular style.  There are many different styles.  Chicago might have a corner on the market where you write, but there are other corners & other markets.  I don't speak for Grammarly - just volunteer in discussion on this forum.  I generally use the same style that they do... no spaces.  If you are on Facebook, you'll notice the same there after any comment.  There is a field that says "Write a comment..."  I'd venture to say that once something is so commonly seen by the masses it will become the norm.


When setting type for printed publications, typesetters often tweak the amount of space (regardless of style) between periods of an ellipsis to make the line fit the page better.  I am in the US myself, but I believe that in the UK the style is usually without spaces.  Also, different styles (MLA, APA) have various rules on when to use an ellipsis, a dash, an en dash, or em dash. 

link answered Jan 26 '12 at 03:22 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

To the best of my knowledge, the Chicago Manual of Style is the gold standard used by all publishers--but I will double check. MLA, APA , and various specialized manuals specify the same, but again, I will double check. (I would never consider Facebook a source, but it could be indicative of what the masses are doing. I hope such disregard for proper punctuation does not become the acceptable norm, but it is possible it will eventually. A pity. As far as the typesetters go, what usually happens is the reverse. In the original copies, it is clear that they use the long accepted rules regarding ellipses and dashes. It is only in paper back versions using extremely small font, that the ellipsis and dashes appear close together. Thank you though for attempting to answer the question. G. ScherphornJan 26 '12 at 08:52

My point was not that the Chicago Manual of Style isn’t the gold standard for publishers in the US. We live in a global society and there are other styles. Most of the differences I have noticed on Grammarly are following rules held in the UK. So, yes, I attempted to answer the question. Because we don’t like the answer doesn’t make it incorrect. I don’t like using Facebook as an example any more than you like hearing it, but indeed the masses are seeing it every day, all day. Change happens – even in grammar and punctuation. I still don’t think “ginormous” should be a word. I once had a VP at a bank refer to me as “U” in an email trying to gain my company’s business. It makes my skin crawl. Typesetters used to only have the choice to add more space when it was set by hand or on a Linotype. Today, it goes either way. I could have a lengthy discussion on the changes in the printing industry. Patty TJan 26 '12 at 13:54

Note: A Grammarly check on properly formed ellipses and dashes gives this advice: "Commas, periods, colons, semi-colons, exclamation marks, question marks, hyphens, ellipses, closing quotation marks and closing brackets do not need spaces in front of them. A space should be used before dashes, opening quotation marks and opening brackets. Apostrophes may have a space before them if they represent a missing letter (or group of letters) at the beginning of a word. Grammarly incorrectly says this because they have included ellipses in grouping. Also, notice what they say about dashes needing spaces. It is exactly the opposite. No spaces are required around dashes. It appears, the proof reader for grammarly missed this. If someone can prove I am wrong, please let me know. I will then tell Grammar Girl what you said. G. ScherphornFeb 04 '12 at 08:20

G: I am unsure where Grammarly's advice ends and your commentary begins, as there is no second quotation mark. As I mentioned, I don't speak (or work) for Grammarly. If you have an issue with their software, you need to go to support.grammarly.com - not hash it out here. I suppose I should have included that in my original response to your question. I am familiar with the website of Grammar Girl, and have read several of her posts. I like them. Though I don’t know why you are connecting that website with this one, here’s what she says about spaces before and after a dash: “That means it is a style choice. If you're writing for a newspaper, magazine, or website that uses Associated Press style, put in the spaces. Otherwise, leave them out.” So I guess she and I are in agreement about my original comment that there are different styles in the world of punctuation. Patty TFeb 04 '12 at 09:10

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I have to agree with Scherphorn. Perhaps Grammarly does not want writers to be perfect, otherwise, what need would there be for Grammarly.  When writing fiction, I sometimes get confused about how dashes and ellipses should "technically" appear on the page.  Often, I refer to the punctuation styles of best sellers and figure out proper punctuation.  I'm not sure Grammarly is 100% kosher.

link comment answered Apr 27 '12 at 02:56 Kevin Knott New member

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