Welcome to Writing Tip Tuesday, the Ellipses edition. This is the tenth in a series of posts pulled from my free guide “On Not Writing Badly.” You can download the whole thing by filling out this form, or, if you’d rather not subscribe to my email list, you can simply check back here over the next several Tuesdays for a regular dose of word nerdery.
Ellipses are used to show that a word or phrase has been deleted from a quoted passage.
Rule 1: Do not use ellipses before the first word of a quotation, even if the
beginning of the original sentence has been omitted.
Correct: “The man is a cheat.” Incorrect: “…The man is a cheat.”
Rule 2: Do not use ellipses after the last word of a quotation, even if the end of
the original sentence has been omitted.
Correct: “I hate that guy so much.” Incorrect: “I hate that guy…”
Rule 3: The first word after ellipses points is capitalized if it starts a complete
sentence, even if it was lowercase in the original.
Scott said: “Why do I hate him?… He is always stealing my pen.”
Rule 4: We do use punctuation (including periods) before ellipses points, when
they are needed for clarity. See the example for Rule 3.
(Note: This is one of those contentious grammar issues your momma warned you about.)