Monday Rant: Ellipsis


Alright, so I don’t think many people really pay attention to the extra periods they add to stuff and what that means. They are called ellipsis, and as an author, I’m keenly aware of this writing device. It’s a cue that something has been left out, some other words are inferred by those dots. Typically those words don’t need to be added for a person to understand what you’re getting at. “Yea, we could do that or . . .” kind of scenario. It doesn’t really take a brainiac to tell that maybe the above person doesn’t really want to do what is suggested, or they have another idea.

Now, I really can’t stand ellipsis. I mean, when writing I love them, I use them a lot to create tension or hint at something more. When I’m talking with people I’m hyper-aware of their uses, even if the other person isn’t. Take my sister, for example (only because she does this to me all the time). She loves to use them, even if she has nothing to infer by using them. I think she does it simply to drive me effing nuts! Scratch that. I know she does it to drive me nuts! She will use them even when she doesn’t need to! Sometimes I think it’s on accident, other times, not so sure. This is a typical conversation between the two of us in which she would use the ellipsis. Note, this isn’t an actual conversation, but it could have been.

AHHHHHH! Why the ellipsis imaginary sister? And then notice how she sends just a blank message with ellipsis? Even though this conversation never happened, that extra message with ellipsis HAS happened!

And I don’t know why. I don’t understand it other than the fact that she wants to drive me insane!!!!! 😛 Are you a regular ellipsis user? Did you know what it meant before reading this rant? If you didn’t know, and you used them, could you please tell me what you thought it meant so maybe I can relate better to my sisters insane insistence on using them?

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2 comments on “Monday Rant: Ellipsis
  1. Clara Bush says:

    I must confess, Travis. I am an ellipses junkie. Love them. For my purposes, I use them in this way:

    An ellipsis is a literary device, a punctuation mark, used to indicate a break in continuity or the trailing off in a character’s dialogue—either spoken or internal—as in hesitation or interruption of thoughts. In narration, the ellipsis might indicate the unfinished thoughts of a character.

    Because I love them so much, I did an entire blog on them to make sure I was using them correctly. There is also a discussion in literary circles on the correct way to punctuate ellipses in fiction. Pick up any popular book and you will find ellipses punctuated in any numerous way.

    I do agree, I don’t think the average person understands the use of an ellipsis. I know I didn’t until I did the research.

    And em dashes—another misused writing device.

    Great post. Made me refresh memory on their use.

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