How to Use an Ellipsis
When using ellipsis stylistically, there are not many rules to follow. Most importantly, make sure that your information flows smoothly and that your audience can follow where you lead. You want to keep them interested in your story, whether it is fact or fiction, and you want that story to remain fresh and interesting.
Ellipsis points always indicate that something has been omitted, and as such, must be used correctly. They may look strange to you at first, but as you use them more and more, you will get used to them. Remember these two things:
- Punctuate your sentences properly, even if you think the ellipsis points look strange. The ellipsis points are taking the place of words and may go before or after your standard punctuation.
- Make sure your sentence is grammatically correct, even though there is something missing. This may take some consideration and stylistic creativity on your part. You must remain true to the original meaning of the quote, while adapting it to your purpose. Be careful.
When to use Ellipsis
Ellipsis is a literary device that is appropriate in any situation. However, you want to make sure that your writing is complete, so consider your use of ellipses carefully. That said, here are just a few technical rules to get you started:
- In quotations, use ellipsis points whenever you leave out words or phrases.
- Never use ellipsis points to join two statements that are unrelated or far apart in their original printing. Your quote must always be true to the original meaning.
- Ellipsis points are generally not used at the beginning of a quotation.
- Rework your sentence so that it sounds and looks complete, without compromising your quotation.