The Ellipsis

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The Ellipsis

The ellipsis is three periods in a row. It signifies that words or figures are missing.

Most frequently an ellipsis is used with quotations. It may come at the middle or end of a quotation. It may be used at the beginning of a quotation if the quotation begins mid-sentence and there is an appropriate lead-in.

In mathematics an ellipsis shows that numbers have been left out. This is usually used in decimals, series, and matrices.

Quotation:”Sometimes I’m ancient. I’m afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. I’m afraid of them and they don’t like me because I’m afraid. My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn’t kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says.”

Ellipsis in middle: “I’m afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no…My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn’t kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says.”

Ellipsis at end: “My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn’t kill each other. But that was a long time ago…”
(Some authorities use four periods instead of three when the ellipsis is at the end or if more than a paragraph has been left out.)

Ellipsis at beginning: Clarisse said her uncle’s grandfather “…remembered when children did not kill each other.”

Mathematical: 3.14159…

Quotation from Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, (New York: Ballantine, 1979) 32.

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