# Ellipsis

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For other uses, see Ellipsis (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Ellipse.
Ellipsis
…  . . .
Precomposed ellipsis  Spaced 3 periods  Mid-line ellipsis
Punctuation
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،
dash   –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .
exclamation mark !
full stop, period .
hyphen
hyphen-minus -
question mark ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /
Word dividers
interpunct ·
space
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
bullet
caret ^
dagger † ‡
degree °
ditto mark
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
number sign, pound, hash, octothorpe #
numero sign
obelus ÷
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil % ‰
plus and minus + −
basis point
pilcrow
prime
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
service mark
Uncommon typography
asterism
hedera
index, fist
interrobang
irony punctuation
lozenge
reference mark
tie
Related
In other scripts

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short") is a series of dots that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.[1] Depending on their context and placement in a sentence, ellipses can also indicate an unfinished thought, a leading statement, a slight pause, and a nervous or awkward silence. Aposiopesis is the use of an ellipsis to trail off into silence—for example: "But I thought he was . . ." When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (. . .) or a precomposed triple-dot glyph (). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis, especially in dialogue. Style guides often have their own rules governing the use of ellipses. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that an ellipsis be formed by typing three periods, each with a space on both sides.

The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, "dot-dot-dot".[2]

## In writing

It is used to build tension or show that the sentence has been left unfinished or unstarted.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, an ellipsis was often used when a writer intentionally omitted a specific proper noun, such as a location: "Jan was born on . . . Street in Warsaw."

As commonly used, this juxtaposition of characters is referred to as "dots of ellipsis" in the English language.[citation needed]

Occasionally, it would be used in pulp fiction and other works of early 20th-century fiction to denote expletives that would otherwise have been censored.[3]

An ellipsis may also imply an unstated alternative indicated by context. For example, when Sue says "I never drink . . . wine", the implication is that she does drink something else—such as vodka.

In reported speech, the ellipsis can be used to represent an intentional silence

In poetry, this is used to highlight sarcasm or make the reader think about the last points in the poem.

In news reporting, often associated with brackets, it is used to indicate that a quotation has been condensed for space, brevity or relevance.

Herb Caen, Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, became famous for his "Three-dot journalism".

## In different languages

### In English

The Chicago Manual of Style suggests the use of an ellipsis for any omitted word, phrase, line, or paragraph from within but not at the end of a quoted passage. There are two commonly used methods of using ellipses: one uses three dots for any omission, while the second one makes a distinction between omissions within a sentence (using three dots: . . .) and omissions between sentences (using a period and a space followed by three dots: . ...). An ellipsis at the end of a sentence with a sentence following should be preceded by a period (for a total of four dots).

The Modern Language Association (MLA), however, used to indicate that an ellipsis must include spaces before and after each dot in all uses. If an ellipsis is meant to represent an omission, square brackets must surround the ellipsis to make it clear that there was no pause in the original quote: [ . . . ]. Currently, the MLA has removed the requirement of brackets in its style handbooks. However, some maintain that the use of brackets is still correct because it clears confusion.[4]

The MLA now indicates that a three-dot, spaced ellipsis ( … ) should be used for removing material from within one sentence within a quote. When crossing sentences (when the omitted text contains a period, so that omitting the end of a sentence counts), a four-dot, spaced (except for before the first dot) ellipsis (. . . . ) should be used. When ellipsis points are used in the original text, ellipsis points that are not in the original text should be distinguished by enclosing them in square brackets (e.g. "text […] text").[5]

According to the Associated Press, the ellipsis should be used to condense quotations. It is less commonly used to indicate a pause in speech or an unfinished thought or to separate items in material such as show business gossip. The stylebook indicates that if the shortened sentence before the mark can stand as a sentence, it should do so, with an ellipsis placed after the period or other ending punctuation. When material is omitted at the end of a paragraph and also immediately following it, an ellipsis goes both at the end of that paragraph and in front of the beginning of the next, according to this style.[6]

According to Robert Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style, the details of typesetting ellipsis depend on the character and size of the font being set and the typographer's preference. Bringhurst writes that a full space between each dot is "another Victorian eccentricity. In most contexts, the Chicago ellipsis is much too wide"—he recommends using flush dots, or thin-spaced dots (up to one-fifth of an em), or the prefabricated ellipsis character (Unicode U+2026, Latin entity &hellip;). Bringhurst suggests that normally an ellipsis should be spaced fore-and-aft to separate it from the text, but when it combines with other punctuation, the leading space disappears and the other punctuation follows. This is the usual practice in typesetting. He provides the following examples:

 i … j k…. l…, l l, … l m…? n…!

In legal writing in the United States, Rule 5.3 in the Bluebook citation guide governs the use of ellipsis and requires a space before the first dot and between the two subsequent dots. If an ellipsis ends the sentence, then there are three dots, each separated by a space, followed by the final punctuation. In some legal writing, an ellipsis is written as three asterisks (*** or * * *) to make it obvious that text has been omitted.

### In Polish

When applied in Polish language syntax, the ellipsis is called wielokropek, which means "multidot". The word wielokropek distinguishes the ellipsis of Polish syntax from that of mathematical notation, in which it is known as an elipsa.

When an ellipsis replaces a fragment omitted from a quotation, the ellipsis is enclosed in parentheses or square brackets. An unbracketed ellipsis indicates an interruption or pause in speech.

The syntactical rules for ellipses are standardized by the 1983 Polska Norma document PN-83/P-55366, Zasady składania tekstów w języku polskim ("Rules for setting texts in the Polish Language").

### In Russian

The combination "ellipsis+period" is replaced by the ellipsis. The combinations "ellipsis+exclamation mark" and "ellipsis+question mark" are written in this way: !.. ?..

### In Japanese

The most common character corresponding to an ellipsis is called 3-ten rīdā ("3-dot leaders", ). 2-ten rīdā exists as a character, but it is used less commonly. In writing, the ellipsis consists usually of six dots (two 3-ten rīdā characters, ……). Three dots (one 3-ten rīdā character) may be used where space is limited, such as in a header. However, variations in the number of dots exist. In horizontally written text the dots are commonly vertically centered within the text height (between the baseline and the ascent line), as in the standard Japanese Windows fonts; in vertically written text the dots are always centered horizontally. As the Japanese word for dot is pronounced "ten", the dots are colloquially called "ten-ten-ten" (てんてんてん, akin to the English "dot dot dot").

In manga, the ellipsis by itself represents speechlessness, or a "pregnant pause". Given the context, this could be anything from an admission of guilt to an expression of being dumbfounded at another person's words or actions. As a device, the ten-ten-ten is intended to focus the reader on a character while allowing the character to not speak any dialogue. This conveys to the reader a focus of the narrative "camera" on the silent subject, implying an expectation of some motion or action. It is not unheard of to see inanimate objects "speaking" the ellipsis.

### In Chinese

In Chinese, the ellipsis is six dots (in two groups of three dots, occupying the same horizontal space as two characters) (i.e. ……). The dots are always centered within the baseline and the ascender when horizontal (on the baseline has become acceptable)[citation needed] and centered horizontally when vertical.

### In French

In French, the ellipsis is commonly used at the end of lists to represent et cetera.

## In mathematical notation

An ellipsis is also often used in mathematics to mean "and so forth". In a list, between commas, or following a comma, a normal ellipsis is used, as in:

$1,2,3,\ldots,100\,.$

To indicate the omission of values in a repeated operation, an ellipsis raised to the center of the line is used between two operation symbols or following the last operation symbol, as in:

$1+2+3+\cdots+100\,$

(though sometimes, for example, in Russian mathematical texts, normal, non-raised, ellipses are used even in repeated summations[7]).

The latter formula means the sum of all natural numbers from 1 to 100. However, it is not a formally defined mathematical symbol. Repeated summations or products may similarly be denoted using capital sigma and capital pi notation, respectively:

$1+2+3+\cdots+100\ = \sum_{n=1}^{100} n$
$1 \times 2 \times 3 \times \cdots \times 100\ = \prod_{n=1}^{100} n = 100!$ (see factorial)

Normally dots should be used only where the pattern to be followed is clear, the exception being to show the indefinite continuation of an irrational number such as:

$\pi=3.14159265\ldots$

Sometimes, it is useful to display a formula compactly, for example:

$1+4+9+\cdots+n^2+\cdots+400\,.$

Another example is the set of zeros of the cosine function.

$\left\{\pm\frac{\pi}{2}, \pm\frac{3\pi}{2}, \pm\frac{5\pi}{2}, \ldots \right\}\,.$

There are many related uses of the ellipsis in set notation.

The diagonal and vertical forms of the ellipsis are particularly useful for showing missing terms in matrices, such as the size-n identity matrix

$I_n = \begin{bmatrix}1 & 0 & \cdots & 0 \\0 & 1 & \cdots & 0 \\\vdots & \vdots & \ddots & \vdots \\0 & 0 & \cdots & 1 \end{bmatrix}.$

The use of ellipses in mathematical proofs is often discouraged because of the potential for ambiguity. For this reason, and because the ellipsis supports no systematic rules for symbolic calculation, in recent years some authors have recommended avoiding its use in mathematics altogether.[8]

## Computer interfaces

Ellipses are often used in an operating system's taskbars or web browser tabs to indicate that a user interface string is longer than what can fit in the screen. Hovering the cursor over the tab often displays a tooltip of the full title. When many programs are open, or during a "tab explosion" in web browsing, the tabs may be reduced in size so much that no characters from the actual titles show, and ellipses take up all the space besides the program icon or favicon.

In many user interface guidelines, a "…" after the name of a command implies that the user will need to provide further information, for example in a subsequent dialog box, before the action can be completed. A typical example is the Save As… command, which after being clicked will usually require the user to enter a filename, as opposed to Save where the file will usually be saved under its existing name.

An ellipsis character after a status message signifies that an operation is in progress and may take some time, as in "Downloading updates…".

## Programming languages

The ellipsis is used as an operator in some programming languages. The precise meaning varies by language, but it generally involves something dealing with multiple items. One of its most common uses is in defining variadic functions which can take an unknown number of arguments in the C, C++ and Java languages. See Ellipsis (programming operator).

## On the Internet and in text messaging

The ellipsis is a non-verbal cue that is often used in computer-mediated interactions, in particular in synchronous genres, such as chat. The reason behind its popularity is the fact that it allows people to indicate in writing several functions:

• the sign of ellipsis can function as a floor holding device, and signal that more is to come, for instance when people break up longer turns in chat[9]
• dot-dot-dot can be used systematically to enact linguistic politeness, for instance indicating topic change or hesitation[10]
• suspension dots can be turn construction units to signal silence, for example when indicating disagreement, disapproval or confusion [11]

Although an ellipsis is technically complete with three periods (...), its rise in popularity as a "trailing-off" or "silence" indicator, particularly in mid-20th-century comic strip and comic book prose writing, has led to expanded uses online. Today, extended ellipsis anywhere from two to dozens of periods have become common constructions in Internet chat rooms and text messages.[12] The extent of repetition in itself might serve as an additional contextualization or paralinguistic cue, to "extend the lexical meaning of the words, add character to the sentences, and allow fine-tuning and personalisation of the message"[13]

## Computer representations

In computing, several ellipsis characters have been codified, depending on the system used.

In the Unicode standard, there are the following characters:

Name Character Unicode HTML entity name or
Numeric character reference
Use
Horizontal ellipsis U+2026 &hellip; General
Laotian ellipsis U+0EAF &#x0EAF; General
Mongolian ellipsis U+1801 &#x1801; General
Thai ellipsis U+0E2F &#x0E2F; General
Vertical ellipsis U+22EE &vellip; Mathematics
Midline horizontal ellipsis U+22EF &#x22EF; Mathematics
Up-right diagonal ellipsis U+22F0 &#x22F0; Mathematics
Down-right diagonal ellipsis U+22F1 &#x22F1; Mathematics
Presentation form for vertical horizontal ellipsis U+FE19 &#xFE19; Vertical form

In Windows, it can be inserted with Alt+0133.

In OS X, it can be inserted with Opt+. (on an English language keyboard).

In Linux, it can be inserted with AltGr+.

In Chinese and sometimes in Japanese, ellipsis characters are made by entering two consecutive horizontal ellipsis (U+2026).[clarification needed] In vertical texts, the application should rotate the symbol accordingly.

Unicode recognizes a series of three period characters (U+002E) as compatibility equivalent (though not canonical) to the horizontal ellipsis character.[14]

In HTML, the horizontal ellipsis character may be represented by the entity reference &hellip; (since HTML 4.0), and the vertical ellipsis character by the entity reference &vellip; (since HTML 5.0).[15] Alternatively, in HTML, XML, and SGML, a numeric character reference such as &#x2026; or &#8230; can be used.

In the TeX typesetting system, the following types of ellipsis are available:

Character name Character TeX markup
Lower ellipsis $\ldots\,\!$ \ldots
Centred ellipsis $\cdots\,\!$ \cdots
Diagonal ellipsis $\ddots\,\!$ \ddots
Vertical ellipsis $\vdots\,\!$ \vdots
Up-right diagonal ellipsis \reflectbox{\ddots}

The horizontal ellipsis character also appears in the following older character maps:

Note that ISO/IEC 8859 encoding series provides no code point for ellipsis.

As with all characters, especially those outside of the ASCII range, the author, sender and receiver of an encoded ellipsis must be in agreement upon what bytes are being used to represent the character. Naive text processing software may improperly assume that a particular encoding is being used, resulting in mojibake.

The Chicago Style Q&A recommends to avoid the use of  (U+2026) character in manuscripts and to place three periods plus two nonbreaking spaces (. . .) instead, so that an editor, publisher, or designer can replace them later.[16]

In Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1), the ellipsis is used as an extension marker to indicate the possibility of type extensions in future revisions of a protocol specification. In a type constraint expression like A ::= INTEGER (0..127, ..., 256..511) an ellipsis is used to separate the extension root from extension additions. The definition of type A in version 1 system of the form A ::= INTEGER (0..127, ...) and the definition of type A in version 2 system of the form A ::= INTEGER (0..127, ..., 256..511) constitute an extension series of the same type A in different versions of the same specification. The ellipsis can also be used in compound type definitions to separate the set of fields belonging to the extension root from the set of fields constituting extension additions. Here is an example: B ::= SEQUENCE { a INTEGER, b INTEGER, ..., c INTEGER }

## References

1. ^ thefreedictionary.com
2. ^ as coined by Virginia Woolf in her short story The Mark on The Wall -- or so do notes in Penguin Books' edition (Virginia Woolf: Selected Short Stories) suggest.
3. ^ Raymond Chandler, Frank MacShane. Raymond Chandler: Stories and Early Novels. First Edition. New York: Library of America. 1995. Note on the Texts.
4. ^ Fowler, H. Ramsey, Jane E. Aaron, Murray McArthur. The Little, Brown Handbook. Fourth Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson Longman. 2005. p. 440.
5. ^
6. ^ Godlstein, Norm, editor. "Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law". 2005. pp.328–329.
7. ^ Мильчин А. Э. Издательский словарь-справочник.— Изд. 3-е, испр. и доп., Электронное — М.: ОЛМА-Пресс, 2006. (in Russian)
8. ^ Roland Backhouse, Program Construction: Calculating Implementations from Specifications. Wiley (2003), page 138
9. ^ Simpson, J (2005). "Meaning-making online: Discourse and CMC in a Language learning community". Recent Research Developments in Learning Technologies. CiteSeerX: 10.1.1.108.463.
10. ^ Erika, Darics (2010). "Relational work in synchronous text-based CMC of virtual teams". Handbook of research on discourse behavior and digital communication: language structures and social interaction.
11. ^ Ong, Kenneth Keng Wee (2011). "Disagreement, Confusion, Disapproval, Turn Elicitation and Floor Holding: Actions accomplished by Ellipsis Marks-Only Turns and Blank Turns in Quasisynchronous Chat". Discourse Studies 13 (2).
12. ^ Maness, Jack M. (2007). "The Power of Dots: Using Nonverbal Compensators in Chat Reference" (PDF). Proceedings of the 2007 Annual Meeting of ASIS&T. Annual Meeting of ASIS&T. University Libraries − University of Colorado at Boulder. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
13. ^ Kalman, Yoram M et al. "CMC cues enrich lean online communication: the case of letter and punctuation mark repetitions". Retrieved 9 July 2012.
14. ^ UnicodeData.txt: 2026;HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS;Po;0;ON;<compat> 002E 002E 002E;;;;N;;;;;
15. ^ "W3C Working Draft: HTML5: 8.5 Named character references". 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
16. ^ "Chicago Style Q&A: How do I insert an ellipsis in my manuscript?". The Chicago Manual of Style, edition 16. University of Chicago Press. 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-10.