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Nuts and Bolts: Punctuation – Ellipsis, Abused & Misunderstood

February 19, 2016

An ellipsis adds cadence, sets a mood, builds suspense and anticipation to greeting card verses.  For those reasons it is quite commonly used, however often misused.  Here are some tips on why, when and how to use ellipsis effectively and correctly.
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An ellipsis is a series of dots (three, such as “…”) that usually indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.  Depending on their context and placement in a sentence, ellipses can also indicate an unfinished thought, a leading statement, a slight pause, a mysterious or echoing voice, or a nervous or awkward silence. Aposiopesis is the use of an ellipsis to trail off into silence, for example: “But I thought he was . . .” When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing.


Proper Ellipsis Usage:

The correct punctuation in using an ellipsis is to leave a space after the last word and before the ellipsis, or vice versa at the beginning of a continuation of a sentence. For example ”I was just thinking … ” or  ”… about your birthday”. Including a space in between each mark ”. . .” as well as no spaces in between ”…” are both allowable and most importantly ellipses ALWAYS consist of exactly 3 marks – no more, no less. If you end your cover verse with an ellipsis you should begin your inside verse with an ellipsis as it is useful to indicate that the card front sentence finishes on the inside verse. An ellipsis should not be used to continue a sentence that both starts and ends on the card front. Lastly note, the first word following an ellipsis, and the required space, should begin with a lowercase letter unless the first word is a proper name or the pronoun I.


One Comment leave one →
  1. February 19, 2016 10:56 pm

    Thank you for the refresher coarse Corrie!

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