1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Bracketed Ellipses

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 18, 2014.

    The unspaced dots in ellipses are very common now.

    (1) Is it preferred to use the bracketed ellipsis over the unbracketed ellipsis?


    The spirit of our American radicalism is destructive and aimless [...]. On the other side, the conservative party [...] is timid, and merely defensive of property. [...]

    When, in the course of human events [...]

    And:

    "I ... uh ... am startled ..."

    Or:

    "I ... uh ... am ..."


    (Three dots okay in the unbracketed ellipsis as well?) The sentence was meant to deliberately trail off.


    (2) If a sentence deliberately ends in an incomplete sentence or deliberately trails off (like the bolded one above), we use three dots, as in: When, in the course of human events [...]

    Do we need a fourth dot following the bracketed ellipsis when the sentence is deliberately incomplete like that? A or B below?

    A. When, in the course of human events [...]

    B. When, in the course of human events [...].


    If one or two sentences are omitted between sentences, is the following spacing correct with the unbracketed ellipsis? In the sentence below, are the three dots, space, period, space (... .) good? It indicates that there were one or two sentences omitted before the sentence 'On the other side, the conservative party is timid, and merely defensive of property.'


    The spirit of our American radicalism is destructive and aimless ... . On the other side, the conservative party ... is timid, and merely defensive of property.

    (3) May I use four unspaced dots in an unbracketed ellipsis to include the fourth—and terminal—period? See below.

    The spirit of our American radicalism is destructive and aimless ....

    Thanks again! :)
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not actually going to tackle this one, because I've just done a bit of reading and realise there is a difference of opinion on how to present an ellipsis at the end of a sentence. Dan Persinger holds out for the 3 dots followed by a period, exclamation mark or question mark. However, the Webster's Writers Guide seems fine with only using 3 dots to end a sentence.

    I'm going to stick with the Persinger version because it's much clearer. The fourth (dot) clearly indicates the end of a sentence. Without it, the capitalisation of the next letter if the sentence comes in the middle of a paragraph just looks ...premature.

    Also, the Persinger source I'm using (Writers' Devils) is designed for fiction writers, which I am. He doesn't go into all the ins and outs of technical punctuation which you might need to know if you were writing a thesis paper or a technical manual or whatever.

    I'm a sucker for not making things more difficult than they need to be. So I'll leave this one to the experts. Sorry I can't really help!
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you so much, jannert.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This is my personal preference:

    1. I wouldn't use brackets at all for ellipses.

    2. If I do use brackets, I would put a period after the last bracket.

    3. If there are no brackets, I don't use the fourth dot (period).

    Again, this is my personal preference and may not be "correct."
     
  5. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you. :)
     

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