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Ellipsis

The ellipsis ( ... ) is used to

a) indicate that something has been omitted from a quotation.

    Examples:

    Original Passage: To hold its own in the struggle for existence, every species of animal must have a regular source of food, and if it happens to live on other animals, its survival may be very delicately balanced. Alexander Petrunkevitch, "The Spider and the Wasp"

    Shortened Quotation with Ellipsis Mark: Petrunkevitch tells us that "every species of animal must have a regular source of food, and…its survival may be very delicately balanced."

    Shortened Quotation with a Period and Ellipsis Mark: Petrunkevitch tells us that "every species of animal must have a regular source of food…." (Note that in such a case, there will be, in effect, four dots.)

b) indicate a pause or hesitation.

    Examples

    She remembered many of her accomplishments…and a few of her failures. "I am not sure what I want…," said Robert. "Can I take another minute to decide?" It's a bird…. It's a plane…. No, it's Superman!

More punctuation guides
Writing & Reading Tutoring webpage

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