Punctuation is the basic element of English grammar and without it a sentence is not only incomplete but also insensible. There are various marks of punctuation that are used in sentences to give them more meaning and make it easier for the reader to understand. If we omit these punctuation marks from a sentence we will be left hanging. Also, without a punctuation mark a sentence can have various meanings and the reader might assume the meaning the writer is not conveying.
Today I will talk about one very less common punctuation mark called ellipses and its usage in English language.
The punctuation mark ellipses is represented by three or four periods one after the other and appears as ... or ….
Ellipses is employed in English language to mark omission in a sentence.
If the omission is in between a sentence, three periods are used and if the omission comes at the end of the sentence four ellipses or three ellipses and one period is used.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941…the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by…the Empire of Japan.” President Fanklin Roosevelt addressed his nation.
Notice that as the omission of the address given by Roosevelt is in between the sentence, three ellipses are used. Also note that ellipses does not have spaces before or after.
Herbert Hoover said, “Engineering is a great profession. There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper….it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life. This is the engineer’s high privilege.”
In the second example, omission is at the end of a sentence and then a next sentence is joined with it so four ellipses or three ellipses with one period is used. Also note that after four ellipses, the first letter of the new sentence is not capitalized.
Ellipses are also used to show a pause or interruption in a sentence or speech.
“The…the…the...robber took everything” the frightened woman said.
Note that the ellipses is showing a pause in this example.