[bksvol-discuss] Re: Ellipses

  • From: "Chela Robles" <cdrobles693@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 17:29:53 -0700

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Greek: ????????, élleipsis, "omission") is 
a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a 
word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in 
speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off 
into silence (aposiopesis) (apostrophe and ellipsis mixed). When placed at the 
end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy 
longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops 
(...) or pre-composed triple-dot glyph (.). The usage of the em dash (-) can 
overlap the usage of ellipsis.

The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of 
ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot.In writing

The way the ellipsis is supposed to be written in the US is "..." per Modern 
Language Association (MLA) standards. The use of ellipsis can either mislead or 
insult, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses 
them. An example of this ambiguity is "She went to . school." In this sentence, 
"." might represent the word "elementary". Alternatively, in a usage more 
common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, ellipsis can be used when a writer 
intentionally omits a specific proper noun, such as a location: "Jan was born 
on ... Street in Warsaw." Omission of part of a quoted sentence without 
indication by an ellipsis (or bracketed text) would mislead the readers. For 
example, "She went to school," as opposed to "She went to Broadmoor Elementary 

An ellipsis may also imply an unstated alternative indicated by context. For 
example, when Count Dracula says "I never drink . wine", the implication is 
that he does drink something else, which in the context would be blood.

In writing the speech of a character in fiction or nonfiction, the ellipsis is 
sometimes used to represent an intentional silence of a character, usually 
invoked to emphasize a character's irritation, appall, shock or disgust.

The style and use varies in the English language. 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.

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 ellipsis: one uses three dots for any omission, 
while the second 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 no 
sentence following should be followed 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 their style 
handbooks. However, the use of brackets is still correct as it clears confusion.

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. He provides the following examples:

      i . j k.. l., l l, . l m.? n...! 

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:

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:

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, 

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

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

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

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

The use of ellipsis in mathematical proofs is often deprecated because of the 
potential for ambiguity.

In some programming languages (including Perl, Ruby, Groovy, Haskell, and 
Pascal), a shortened two-dot ellipsis is used to represent a range of values 
given two endpoints; for example, to iterate through a list of integers between 
1 and 100 inclusive in Perl:

  foreach (1..100) 
Perl overloads the ".." operator in scalar context as a stateful bistable 
Boolean test, roughly equivalent to "true while x but not yet y".[3] In Perl6, 
the 3-character ellipsis is also known as the "yadda yadda yadda" operator and, 
similarly to its linguistic meaning, serves as a "stand-in" for code to be 
inserted later. In addition, an actual Unicode ellipsis character is used to 
serve as a type of marker in a perl6 format string.[4]

In the C programming language, an ellipsis is used to represent a variable 
number of parameters to a function. For example:

  void func(const char* str, ...) 
The above function in C could then be called with different types and numbers 
of parameters such as:

  func("input string", 5, 10, 15); 

  func("input string", "another string", 0.5); 
As of version 1.5, Java has adopted this "varargs" functionality. For example:

  public int func(int num, String... strings) 
In MATLAB, a three-character ellipsis is used to indicate line 
continuationmaking the sequence of lines

  x = [ 1 2 3 ...
  4 5 6 ]; 
semantically equivalent to the single line

  x = [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]; 
Most programming languages other than Perl6 require the ellipsis to be written 
as a series of periods; a single (Unicode) ellipsis character cannot be used.

Ellipses are often used in an operating system's taskbars or web browser tabs 
to indicate longer titles than will fit. Hovering the cursor over the tab often 
shows a pop-up balloon 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 file name, as opposed to Save where the file will usually be saved 
under the existing name of the file. Also, an ellipsis character after a status 
message signifies that an operation may take some time, for example as in 
"Downloading updates...".

The ellipsis is one of the favorite constructions of internet chat rooms, and 
has evolved over the past ten years into a staple of text-messaging. Though 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. It has been used in new ways online, sometimes at the end of a message 
"to signal that the rest of the message is forthcoming." Today, extended 
ellipsis of two, seven, ten, or even dozens of periods have become common 
constructions in internet chat rooms and text messages.[this citation is 
incomplete] Often the extended ellipses indicate an awkward silence or a "no 
comment" response to the previous statement made by the other party. They are 
sometimes used jokingly or for emphatic confusion about what the other person 
has said.
They are also used to infer that someone or something is stupid or lacking in 

"Elliptical commas", or commas used in plurality for the effect of ellipsis or 
multiple ellipsis, have also grown in popularity online-though no style journal 
or manual has yet embraced them.

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

In the Unicode standard, there are the following characters:

      Character Unicode code point 
      For general use Horizontal ellipsis . U+2026 
      Laotian ellipsis ? U+0EAF 
      Mongolian ellipsis ? U+1801 
      Thai ellipsis ? U+0E2F 
      For use in mathematics Vertical ellipsis ? U+22EE 
      Midline horizontal ellipsis ? U+22EF 
      Up right diagonal ellipsis ? U+22F0 
      Down right diagonal ellipsis ? U+22F1 

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

Unicode recognizes[citation needed] a series of three period characters 
(U+002E) as equivalent to the horizontal ellipsis character.

In HTML, the horizontal ellipsis character may be represented by the entity 
reference &hellip; (since HTML 4.0). 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 TeX markup 
      Lower ellipsis  \ldots 
      Centred ellipsis  \cdots 
      Diagonal ellipsis  \ddots 
      Vertical ellipsis  \vdots 

The horizontal ellipsis character also appears in the following older character 

  a.. in Windows-1250-Windows-1258 and in IBM/MS-DOS Code page 874, at code 85 
  b.. in Mac-Roman and Mac-CentEuro at code C9 (hexadecimal) 
  c.. in Ventura International encoding at code C1 (hexadecimal) 
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. Note the Chicago Style Q&A states in the same answer that "the numeric 
entity for an ellipsis is not formally defined for standard HTML", which 
contradicts to explicitly given "&#8230;" as a numeric reference to the 
horizontal ellipsis character in HTML 4 standard. This misbelief of the Chicago 
Style Q&A may have roots in long lasting confusion between Windows-1252 on one 
hand and Unicode and ISO 8859-1 on another.

In Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1), the ellipsis is used as extension 
marker to indicate the possibility of type extensions in the future revisions 
of a protocol specification. In a type constraint expression like A ::= INTEGER 
(0..127, ..., 256..511) ellipsis is used to separate extension root from 
extension additions. Definition of type A in version 1 system of the form A ::= 
INTEGER (0..127, ...) and definition of type A in version 2 system of the form 
A ::= INTEGER (0..127, ..., 256..511) constitute 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 }

Use ellipsis marks when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from 
a quoted passage.

NOTE: To create ellipsis marks with a PC, type the period three times and the 
spacing will be automatically set, or press Ctrl-Alt and the period once.

The Three-dot Method 
There are many methods for using ellipses. The three-dot method is the simplest 
and is appropriate for most general works and many scholarly ones. The three- 
or four-dot method and an even more rigorous method used in legal works require 
fuller explanations that can be found in other reference books. 

            Rule 1. Use no more than three marks whether the omission occurs in 
the middle of a sentence or between sentences.  
           Original sentence:
            The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime or risk 
losing federal funds."

            Rewritten using ellipses:
            The regulation states, "All agencies must document 
            Note: With the three-dot method, you may leave out punctuation such 
as commas that were in the original.  
            Example: Original sentence from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
            "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 
this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the 
proposition that all men are created equal."

            Rewritten using ellipses:
            "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth...a new 
nation, conceived in liberty..."  

            Rule 2. When you omit one or more paragraphs within a long 
quotation, use ellipsis marks after the last punctuation mark that ends the 
preceding paragraph.  

      I hope this helps. 

"To me, music that breaks your heart is the music that stays with you forever. 
It's one thing to be melancholy and one thing to be sophisticated, but when you 
get the two of them together in a way people can relate to, then I think you're 
on to something. You want the sophistication to lie in the purity of the sound, 
the beauty of the arrangements, and the quality of the performances."-Trumpeter 
Chris Botti
Chela Robles
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  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Emily Harrison 
  To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:00 PM
  Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Ellipses

  I believe it is considered grammatically incorrect to have spaces before or 
after ellipses, or at least that's what I learned in school!  I definitely 
eliminate all spaces before, after and in between ellipses when proofing.

  Emily Harrison

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