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Ellipses

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  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Yago
    I always thought that, when leaving some part of a quote out, you put parentheses around the ellipse (either () or []). Doesn't that make it clearer, especially if you then put a full stop right after the ellipse and end up with 4 points in a row?
    (30 votes)
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  • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Sanjana
    If you end your sentence with an ellipsis, how do you know if the period is part of the ellipsis or if it's the period?
    (16 votes)
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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user ʜᴀᴢɪǫ ᴍᴜʜᴀᴍᴍᴀᴅ
    Can i start a sentence with ellipses ?
    (18 votes)
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    • spunky sam blue style avatar for user melania.mihalcea
      Yes you can, depending on the context. Generally, having ellipses at the beginning of a sentence shows a continuation of speech. For example: ...So that's how I met your mother. This would make sense only if you gave that information before. It can also be used when writing dialogue when someone stops mid-sentence, and continues from there. Beware, though, that ellipses also mean a pause in speech. In my previous example, it would work just fine without the ellipses in the beginning. E.g: So that's how I met your mother. Attention, ellipses in the beginning of a sentence are quite informal! If you are writing an essay, I'd suggest not to use it!
      (16 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Sergei Ternovykh
    If I change deleted part of a quote, should I add a space before ellipses? And is it needed at all to add spaces after and (sometimes) before ellipses? After I knew about dashes, I'm now not sure... :)
    (10 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user trek
      Editing a direct quotation can get a little tricky. If you are only omitting something (like a name) you could use an ellipsis, but if you are editing it (such as inserting a person's name instead of a pronoun like he or she) generally you put the edit in square brackets [David].
      (16 votes)
  • leaf blue style avatar for user batman
    Does there necessarily have to be 3 periods to represent ellipses? Can there be more to indecate a really long pause?
    (7 votes)
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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user Finn Ifversen
    Would you be able to use the ellipses for both purposes in one sentence? Like, if you were quoting someone, but the quote had a pause in it AND you took out a part. Like, say you were quoting some important person named Fred or something, and you said "I do declare... Life as we know it... will surely end." That would cause confusion, probably, so would you be able to use it this way?
    (5 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Courteney
      I would agree that using ellipses in this way may be confusing. It may be slightly less confusing if you were to put the set of ellipses denoting an elimination within brackets. For example: Fred said, "I do declare [...] Life as we know it ... will surely end." The first set of ellipses would then imply an elimination and the second a pause. This is merely a suggestion, since there is no formal rule that declares that you must put ellipses that denote elimination with these brackets. In some academic communities, it's preferred, but like I said, currently it's not something that you have to do.
      (11 votes)
  • aqualine seed style avatar for user Thomas
    is the an ellipsis the three dots people use when writing books to show time-passing/location-change. <--(or what is that called
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby blue style avatar for user Pranesh Prakashbabu
    on David spelled Elipsis "Elipses" but on the Khan Academy Work page it is Spelled "Elipsis" CAn anyone see that as well?
    (5 votes)
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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user Green13staR
    i always thought it was ... not . . .
    (5 votes)
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  • stelly blue style avatar for user Astrellea
    Can't ellipses also have four periods like this ....?
    (4 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Paige] Hello, grammarians. Hello, David. - [David] Hello. . . Paige. - [Paige] (chuckles) So in this video we're gonna talk about a piece of punctuation called the ellipsis or ellipses in the plural form as we have here. So, what is an ellipsis? - [David] So an ellipsis is a punctuation mark that is actually made up of three periods with spaces in between them, boop, boop, boop. And it has two main uses. - [Paige] Okay. - [David] Use number one. It indicates a pause in speech. So like when you said, "Hello, David." And I said, "Hello...Paige." - [Paige] Right, so that ellipsis in the middle shows that you're pausing when you're speaking. So like, there's a lot of reasons why you might pause in your speech, you might be hesitating or thinking or just whatever the case may be, you can use an ellipsis to show that you're pausing. - [David] Right. Uh, and usage number two for the ellipsis is that it shows that a portion of quoted material has been taken out. - [Paige] Why would you take some of a quote out? - [David] So we have here, Paige, you have chosen a quote from the renowned wizard and orator, Albus Dumbledore, and he says, "Words are, "in my not so humble opinion, "our most inexhaustible source of magic." If you wanted, you could kind of take out that aside, that, "in my not so humble opinion." - [Paige] Yeah, I don't have a lot of space on this screen, so I don't want to write that whole thing. - [David] Mm-hmm. - [Paige] Right. So I can say, "Words are, ellipsis, our most inexhaustible "source of magic." - [David] So, okay, so Paige, I have a question. - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] Why do we even need this? Why can't you just say, "Words are our most "inexhaustible source of magic"? - [Paige] That's a great question. So, if I quote someone and I just sort of willy-nilly take words out without indicating that I've taken some information out of the quote, I can make it seem like someone said something totally different to what they actually said, right? It can be so easy to misconstrue someone's actual words. So this shows that this isn't exactly what Albus Dumbledore said, but it's the point that I want to get across with my quote. Does that make sense? - [David] I think so. So you're saying that there's kind of like an ethics question here. - [Paige] Right. - [David] So how do we like accurately reproduce someone's words without misrepresenting them? - [Paige] Totally. - [David] So it shows that you have messed with it somehow. - [Paige] Yes, exactly. - [David] But that you're calling out the fact that you've cut out pieces, so that people don't necessarily get the wrong idea. - [Paige] Totally. - [David] But I think there is kind of an art to using ellipsis, right? - [Paige] Yeah, I agree. You know, you could use it in, you know, technically wherever you want when you're quoting someone if you wanna take something out. But if you use it over and over or in the wrong places, you can still misrepresent what a person was saying. - [David] If you wanted to, you could render that sentence, "Words are my opinion." - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] Right. - [David] If you didn't use ellipses, you could just render that however you please, because those were words that were said approximately in that order, right. - [Paige] Yeah, without ellipses or-- - [David] Without ellipses. - [Paige] Okay. - [David] You know, you could just be like, "Words are my opinion." - [Paige] Mm-hmm. - [David] And that's not, that's not exactly what Dumbledore said, right? - [Paige] Right. No, that's not what he was saying at all. Those are some of the words he said, but that's not the idea he was trying to get across. - [David] So you have this responsibility with ellipses to do the right thing, to really represent the way that somebody speaks accurately. - [Paige] Yeah, definitely. - [David] Let's talk about the end of someone's sentence and I want to indicate that at some point after I cut off the end of the sentence, the sentence ends. Where do I put that extra period or do I need an extra period? - [Paige] Right. Okay. - [David] So let's say our sentence is something like, "I like cheese, although I'm more partial "to a Wensleydale than I am to a cheddar or a Stilton." You might want to just be able to write that sentence as, I like cheese, ellipsis, period, right? - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] So we're still including the terminal punctuation in this sentence. - [Paige] Yes. - [David] To show that it ends after the ellipsis. - [Paige] Right, yeah. That ellipsis there is showing that stuff has been removed, right, from this quote, and then that final period is showing that it's the end of a sentence, just like it normally does. 'Cause like, the ellipsis, you know, looks just like three periods, but it is it's own thing, and doesn't stand in as a period. - [David] So that's what, so if we didn't have that final period, it would just sort of look like you were trailing off like there was a pause. I like cheese. - [Paige] Yeah, there would be no end to that sentence. - [David] Right. But those are the two functions of ellipses, then, is that it indicates a pause in speech, like, "Hello...Paige." Or it shows that a portion of quoted material has been taken out. - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] Like, "Words are...our most "inexhaustible source of magic." - [Paige] That was a great Dumbledore impression. - [Albus] Thank you, Paige. You can learn anything. - [Paige] Okay. - [Albus] Albus out. - [Paige] Paige out. - [David] Cool.