Use of an ellipsis.
Is an ellipsis ever used to show a much longer pause in someone's dialogue? Context: My protaganist is sobbing, and she is having to take deep breaths between words. Example: "As Susan cried rivers of tears, she sobbed, 'Tom...I told you...I didn't...want to...see you...anymore.'" Or is it better to use "commas" or "dashes"?
Ellipsis is fine for this, but you need a space after it, they don't run straight into the following word.
"Tom... I told you... I didn't... want to... see you... anymore."
Dashes could also be useful, if you want the pauses to be of different lengths.
"Tom – I told you! I... didn't... want to... see you... anymore."
Just a suggestion ;-)
|link comment||answered Jul 22 '11 at 14:46 Siân Harris Expert|
I felt this question about the usage of my "ellipsis question" needed some additional clarification. Both answers helped, but left me still somewhat confused. So, for the benefit of others that maybe also confused, I hope my additional information will be helpful:
Yes an"...ellipsis should only be used in formal writing...", but I'd like to emphasize the word: formal, (academia, essays, book reports, term papers, et al).
I found an expert reference that supports both of the two answers above, and they were right here on grammarly.com's site, in the Grammarly Handbook -- which I did not know of its' existence (because I'm a "newbe") until just a few moments ago. I would definitely recommend to all to “copy and paste” the handbook, and save it as a document.
It is the information that follows, that "...made all things perfectly clear"* to myself.
Here is the exact quote (copied and pasted, bullets added by me), along with its' three examples written for an informal document:
"...An ellipsis can also be used to show that someone has stopped speaking or thinking before the sentence has been completed, or that there’s a long pause in the speech. This is an informal usage: don’t use it in academic writing."
- "Andrew, can you, um… never mind, I forgot what I was saying."
- "So, do you think we should…?"
- "He… speaks… so… slowly… it’s… as… if… he… is… trying… to… annoy… you."
Please Note:You will observe in the above sentances, that after the three dots of an ellipsis', skip a space.
So, bottom line -- if the document is to be given to an academic instructor (i.e. school teacher), then an ellipsis should be only used to show omitted words. But, in the case of a long pause, usage should be an informal document -- or as in my case, for a story or a book I am writing... well, this will be the job for your editor at a publishing firm to accept or not (i.e. the ellipsis).
* A paraphrased quote from our 37th U.S President, Richard M. Nixon.
|link comment||edited Jul 25 '11 at 09:46 H. A. McRay New member|
Does anyone do them correctly?
Don’t take my word for it. If you care about such things, flip through any best selling fiction novel and you will see how they are supposed to be written.
Check the Chicago Manual of Style (the gold standard for fiction used by most publishers) is the best all around reference. It elaborates on what I am saying here. Refer to it for the complete story.)
If you do not have the Chciago Manual Of Style, go on line and connect with Grammar Girl (Megas Fogaraty). Here is a quote from her: “An ellipsis consists of exactly three dots called ellipsis points–never two dots, never four dots–just three dots. (Space-Period-Space-Period-Space-Period) Just make sure your dots don’t end up on two different lines “ Fogarty also gives a good memory jog. “The ellipsis is typically standing in for a word or a sentence, so just imagine that it’s a word itself, and then it’s easy to remember to put a space on each side.” Hope this helps!
|link comment||answered Feb 04 '12 at 08:03 G. Scherphorn New member|
Hero of the day
Person voted on the most questions.