Those three dots …

A quite handy little punctuation device is the ellipsis (or plural ellipses), those three points that indicate that something has been omitted or in dialogue, a hesitation or something left unsaid, unfinished. I see it used a lot in articles and stories, but some writers think they can use it instead of an en dash or colon, where something is introduced as a statement arising from something the writer is saying. For example, say I wanted to qualify something I was writing  – like this, but instead put … You can see that the ellipses are used wrongly.

The style rule in Australia for ellipses is to put a space either side, and when found at the end of a sentence, not to add a period. Used correctly, ellipses can really liven up a narrative, and can be used, say, instead of the speaker ‘trailing off’. Do you use ellipses? I do …

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