The ellipsisThey are used to mark an interruption or to indicate a long pause. This punctuation mark can also be used to leave an action open or to indicate that the idea has not been completed.
Similarly, it can be used to express doubts or surprise. On the other hand, it should be clarified that the ellipsis are three consecutive (…), no more, no less.
Also, when a sentence ends with an ellipsis, you should not put a full stop. The word that follows these must be capitalized. On the other hand, if the sentence has not finished, a lowercase letter is written.
Uses and examples of ellipsis in a text
Suspense or incomplete sense
This expressive device is often used in incomplete sentences and in those that are suspended. It is very common to find this resource in literary texts like the one reproduced below:
«For nothing in this world I am going to give up what I have proposed! Yes, Juan soldier, I already know that you are very stubborn and obstinate! But … although it is true that nothing in this world will make you change, maybe something of the another world, yes modify your purpose».
(Excerpt from ” Juan Soldado “, by Mario Augusto Lopez Urbina).
Deletions of parts of a verbatim quote
When a long verbatim quote is reproduced but certain parts are omitted, they are replaced by an ellipsis. These are enclosed in square brackets […] or parentheses. (…). For example:
«If you have already tried to prepare an e-book yourself, a ghostwriter can help you with your existing project by enhancing your work in a way that is more attractive for sale […] In fact, many times it happens that a ghostwriter is hired to edit another ghostwriter’s work».
(Comesaña Álvarez, 2015, p. 30).
Omitting parts of known expressions
In cases where the interlocutor knows the closure of the sentences or when it is understood, ellipsis can be used. The following examples illustrate this usage:
-The devil knows more about being old …
-He always tried to take care of their relationship. She did the things that are supposed to keep romance alive. He never lied to her… But in the end, it didn’t work out.
Surprise, doubt, insecurity or hesitation
The ellipsis can denote surprise, doubt, insecurity or hesitation, as in the following cases:
-I worked on that essay all night, and wrote… two sentences.
-I don’t know … Maybe you’re right.
-He said it a thousand times, but … they still didn’t believe him.
-He loves me, He Loves Me Not…
End of open enumerations
Ellipsis can be used at the end of open enums; that is, when not all the elements of a list are named. In these cases, this punctuation mark is equivalent to the wordetc. Note the following examples:
-In its library rested the works of the great classical authors: Verne, Tolstoi, Poe, Voltaire, Dostoevsky …
-Instead of buying expensive airline tickets and paying for hotel stays, people have been opting for cheaper alternatives: online travel specials, visiting relatives, inviting friends and relatives to dinner at home …
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- Araya, E. (2013). Writing ABCs: An Accessible and Comprehensive Guide to Writing Well. Mexico City: Editorial Océano.
- Royal Spanish Academy and Association of Academies of the Spanish Language (2005). Ellipsis. Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts (1st edition). Retrieved on January 8, 2018, from lema.rae.es.