Rantings of a sub-editor

February 9, 2010

three dots

Filed under: punctuation,three dots — substuff @ 11:33 am
Tags: ,

Those three little dots are driving me mad.

Three dots. Space before? Space after?

The way I see it, there are two usages for the little buggers.

  1. as an ellipsis, to show that something has been left out
  2. to imply continuation or trailing off

In my opinion, the first should have a space before and after. “She went to … School in Bognor Regis.” And if it’s at the end of a sentence, you have four dots instead – one being the full stop.

In the second case, I don’t think there should be a space between the end of the sentence and the three dots. “I think it should just be allowed to trail…” In face, if there were a space before the three dots it could lead to confusion – you might think they signalled omission.

Although I can find plenty of guidance on the use of dots as ellipses, I can’t find anything about the second usage.

If you know, please spill the beans (or if you just want to tell me you think I’m right – that tends to go down pretty well too)!


1 Comment »

  1. In emails – which allow a degree of informality in the style in which they are written – I use ellipses to trail off at the end of sentences. And never follow those with a full stop.

    And in PowerPoint presentations, writing short bullets – which in any event, I do not regard as full sentences, I begin with lower caps, and often end with … and never with a period, unless I continue with more text in the same bullet.



    Comment by Michael — September 17, 2010 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

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