The Ellipsis reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Ellipsis

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Punctuation marks
apostrophe ( ' )
parentheses ( ( ) ),
brackets ( [ ] ); ( { } ); ( < > )
colon ( : )
comma ( , )
dash ( ); ( ); ( ); ( )
ellipsis ( ... )
exclamation mark ( ! ); ( á ! )
full stop/period ( . )
hyphen ( - ); ( )
interrobang ( )
question mark ( ? ); ( ÿ ? )
quotation marks ( ‘ ’ ); ( “ ” );
    ( ‹ › ); ( ë û ); ( ‚ ‘ ); ( „ “ );
    ( Ä Ô ); ( 「 」 ); ( 『 』 )
semicolon ( ; )
slash ( / ) and backslash ( \\ )
space (   ) and interpunct ( ÷ )
vertical bar / pipe ( | )
asterisk ( * ) and dagger ( Æ Ç )
This article is not about ellipses, which see.

In printing and writing, an ellipsis (plural: ellipses) is a row of three dots (…) or asterisks (* * *) indicating an intentional omission.

An example is, "She went to … school." In this sentence, "…" might represent the word "elementary", or the word "no". The use of ellipses can either mislead or clarify, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses it. Omission without indication by an ellipsis is always considered misleading.

An ellipsis can also used to indicate a pause in speech, or be used at the end of a sentence to indicate a trailing off into silence.

The Chicago Manual of Style suggests the use of an ellipsis for any omitted word, phrase, line or paragraph from within a quoted passage. There are two commonly used methods of using ellipses: one uses three dots for any omission, the second makes a distinction between omissions within a sentence (using three dots: …) and omissions between sentences (using a period followed by three spaced dots: ...).

Although some write ellipses without spaces, standard practice dictates that such spaces should be present, which is the case for example in all Oxford University Press publications. Thus: "I have seen something ..." (and not "I have seen something...") The exception here is when a word has been cut off in the middle; that is, when the ellipsis stands for a part of one word: "'He said he realised he was wro...' I stopped mid-word, awestruck.")

When quoting, an ellipsis is used enclosed in brackets (()) or, more often, slasheses (//) if one wishes to omit a part of an original quotation. For example, if the original is the following: "I am reluctant, for no one has convinced me otherwise, to make this decision," one may quote it by leaving out a part thus: "I am reluctant /.../ to make this decision."

In Japanese manga, the ellipsis by itself represents speechlessness, usually as an admission of guilt or a response to being dumbfounded as a result of something that another person has just said or done. The growing popularity of manga worldwide has extended this convention beyond the borders of Japan.

The ellipsis is also often used in mathematics to mean "and so forth", e.g.: "1; 2; 3; ...; 10" means "all natural numbers from 1 to 10". However, it is not a formally defined mathematical symbol.

In computing, the ellipsis character in the Unicode encoding is encoded as hexadecimal 0x2026, which is displayed as "…". The HTML character entity for it is &hellip; (for 'horizontal ellipsis').

In typography there are various types of ellipsis, which are displayed below using TeX; the diagonal and vertical forms are particularly useful for showning missing terms in matrices:


An ellipsis is also a rhetorical figure of speech, the omission of a word or words required by strict grammatical rules but not by sense. The missing words are implied by the context.

Typical examples of this are:

Pat embraces Meredith, and Meredith, Pat,
in which the second instance of the word embraces is implied rather than explict.

And so to bed,
which appears on several occasions in the diary of Samuel Pepys, meaning and so I went to bed.

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
(the opening of a poem by Robert Burns. Burns is asking:
Is there an honest man among us who hangs his head, and otherwise cringes, because of his Poverty?

"Wikipedia is the greatest encyclopedia ever created"
which can be interpreted as a short way to say:"Wikipedia is the greatest encyclopedia that has ever been created"


(This could also be explained without using ellipsis. "Created" is a past participle, which modifies the noun "encyclopedia" in the same manner as an adjective, ie "Wikipedia is the greatest created encyclopedia ever.)

The aposiopesis is a form of ellipsis.