1. tileeba
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    tileeba New Member

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    Breaking up a sentence in multiple lines

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by tileeba, Jun 3, 2011.

    Hello, everyone!

    Oftentimes I write messages (usually e-mail or blog entries) in which I want to "break up" the text of a sentence into more than one line, as in the following example:

    ------------------------------------------------
    We just posted the link to our new product...

    NAME-OF-PRODUCT

    in our site.
    ------------------------------------------------

    What's the best way to do that? Ellipsis (like I used above), hiphen, ...?

    Sometimes I use that when giving information about bank accounts, or when I want something (like the name of the product, for example) to stand out from the rest of the sentence.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. tileeba
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    tileeba New Member

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    Here's another example in which I would like to "break up" a sentence.

    In this story, you will learn...

    - dozens of expressions
    - correct pronunciation and intonation
    etc.

    In the sentence above, I am using bullets. I know that you should probably write, "you will learn the following:" (with a colon); but is it ok to write it with elipses like that?
     
  3. conifer
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    conifer New Member

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    The following is what I would like to do:
    You can use the punctuation colon to introduce the target. You have to make sure the sentence before the colon has a complete thought.

     
  4. conifer
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    conifer New Member

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    I think it is not okay because the ellipses do not have the same function as the colon; I think ellipses are like 'etc.' and substitute items.
    Can someone else verify the usage of ellipses?
     
  5. tileeba
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    tileeba New Member

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    Thank you for your kind answer, conifer!

    Can anyone confirm the suage of ellipses?
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    for the first example, you should move 'on our site' up to the top and leave the product name down there on its own, where the impact on the reader would be greatest... like this:

    but it makes little sense either way... if the link is included, why say you posted it?... why not just say:

    and have the name hyperlinked...

    for the second example, the correct mark to follow 'learn' would be a colon...

    you can google for ellipsis usage rules 'n regs... will be a lot faster than waiting for a lot of conflicting opinions here...
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    You pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one.

    Ellipses are like circles, only wider in one direction. You know, like an oval.

    (Directed to the others, and not mammamaia) The ellipsis (...) is used more for hesitations and such in fictional prose.

    These both read quite differently even though they mean the same thing. Note that the first makes it seem as though the 'yes' is drawn out slightly, pulled directly into the hesitation. The second seems as though the hesitation comes directly after the word and is a little more robotic. It relies too much on the description and not enough on the dialogue. The first one could lose the dialogue attribution entirely. The second requires it for the meaning.

     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Hah, pretty funny, though I'm sure, jokes aside, you realize ellipses is the plural of ellipsis.

    This is where opinions may vary. From a technically proper standpoint, the way I was taught at least, both of your instances are simply not very good from a prose standpoint, and the first example is simply wrong. Again, this is from the standpoint of what is 'correct,' not what is often done anyway, and of course a writer can do whatever they want, it's all subjective, etc.

    The first instance

    is implying he said yes, and then said other things that couldn't be heard or made out by our POV character. Ellipses (from a language, not geometrical standpoint) in fiction are often used to create pauses, but it's technically not correct by anyone I've ever talked to in the industry (who are usually annoyed to high-hell by all the amateur manuscripts they get... peppered with... ellispes... used to create.... drama... in the mind of the... amateur....... writer).

    But yes, in effect it can create hesitation. So could a tiny stamp of a unicorn or a drop of blood staining the manuscript at that point, but that doesn't mean those are proper either.


    We agree this is bad writing, though in general having someone answer and saying they were hesitating makes no sense in how they didn't just hesitate. The confusion is that the 'hesitating' seems like it's modifying the 'said' which wasn't hesitated at all seeing as it's a one word answer (hard to hesitate that).

    This is why an important part of dialog pacing is learning how to create pauses, not state them. Creating them with an improper use of ellipses can be confusing (if I read your first example I'd think the POV character somehow didn't hear what was said next, but that something was), and simply stating a hesitation isn't very compelling or engaging.

    Creating the pause gives attention to the action and interaction in the world/story, instead of the language giving us direction. So, what alternatives are their to an improper use of ellipses or stating a pause/hesitation:

    or

    So, yeah, I get that you were probably just showing a bad example of prose so you could support improperly using ellipses. And I get that plenty of people do use them, whether improper or not (which I won't chastise, as it's a decision to be made by the author and doesn't matter all that much anyhow). It's typically better to just create the hesitation or pause (or other effect) in prose, especially in dialog, instead of simply stating it or hoping punctuation can fill in to the same degree.

    Though, ironically, this also holds true for interruptions of dialog, which are often best represented by the proper use of punctuation

    It gets fun when someone uses an ellipsis instead of an em dash to denote an interruption, which to a refined editors eye ends up being the opposite of an interruption, basically, heh.

    So, "..." when dialog can't be heard, whether there's other sounds or the speaker trails off or is mumbling, and "--" for interruptions in dialog, whether someone else speaking or the speaker interrupting themselves. And in all cases, it's better to create pauses, hesitations, interruptions, etc, instead of simply stating them.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Long post is long. I read it all. I just don't feel the need to reply to it all.

    As for the ellipses thing... this is why I made it my job to never stand by any literary advice anyone employed by Education Queensland gave me. Teachers here are idiots. I was taught that "ellipsis" is like "sheep" in that it is both the singular and plural form. I never bothered to check. It seemed legit. >.<

    As for my examples, I wasn't using "bad prose" as an example. I was just using extremely short, simple pieces of prose as examples. I admit I didn't give it much thought. I didn't see why I should bother with too much thought.
    I can see why you might say it's technically wrong, but we're in a modern age of literature where rules are not only bent, but broken quite frequently. I'm not advocating the bending of rules, but with something as small as an ellipsis INSIDE a piece of dialogue, I think it's fine.

    On a final note, I very rarely use ellipsis, and only then within dialogue. Leave me alone. :C

    C:
     
  10. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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  11. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, perhaps you should write Cormac McCarthy about his punctuation? C:
     

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