Ellipses…Cannot End A Sentence Alone

Okay, today’s grammar rant lesson is about the ellipsis (ellipses is the plural). It’s those three periods that indicate text has been left out (like an apostrophe does with one or two letters), or that a speaker has paused to gather his or her thoughts.

If indicating trailing off at the end of a sentence, ellipses require the final punctuation to be included. For example:

“But I thought…” She stopped and chewed her lip. — This is incorrect. That’s right, it’s WRONG (that was yelled; I find this incredibly frustrating).

“But I thought…?” She stopped and chewed her lip. — This is correct. The ellipsis indicates a pause. The punctuation indicates what kind of [bleep] sentence the speaker is pausing in the middle of.

Incorrect: “What the…” (unless the sentence continues after the closing quotes)
Correct: “What the…!”

Incorrect: “Well, I don’t know…” (unless the sentence continues after the closing quotes)
Correct: “Well, I don’t know….” — note that there are three periods making an ellipsis and another period to end the sentence. That’s how it’s done, people. Really. I hope you didn’t just ask “Really?” again, because I will have to hunt you down and give you such a split infinitive.

Tomorrow, I will demonstrate the correct ways to introduce a person with a job title (hint: if you don’t have a closing comma on a parenthetical phrase, you’d better not have an opening comma, either).

Ahh, the eyelid twitch is getting less pronounced already. Thank you for your kind attention.

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