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The Ellipsis

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FC: The Ellipsis | Michelle Brown AP English Summer Assignment

1: According to the Capital Community College Foundation Guide to Grammar and Writing, an ellipsis is "The omission from a sentence or other construction of one or more words understandable from the context that would complete or clarify the construction. | A mark to indicate the omission of letters or words." Today, the ellipsis can also be used to show trailing thoughts, or even just a pause in a sentence's flow. The rules for using an ellipsis are pretty clear cut and straightforward. When used properly, it can add a unique tone and flair to any sentence or phrase. It's just a shame that so many people use it wrong.

2: The Ellipsis: Done Right

3: Here we see a classic, standard example of an ellipsis shortening a quotation. If one is shortening after the end of a sentence the ellipsis comes after the period for a total of 4 dots. | This ellipsis is used to show a trailing thought within a sentence. It's on the borderline of unacceptable usage, and it seems a little awkward. But going strictly by the rules, it is allowed.

4: Another ellipsis to shorten a quotation, this time in the middle of a sentence. | And again. | Now it's being used to show a trailing thought at the end of a sentence.

5: An ellipsis to show trailing in a song. Even if it didn't fit the rules, pretty much anything goes in songs and poetry. | Two ellipses; one to show a cut in the middle of a sentence and one to show a cut at the end. | Who says ellipses have to be in English?

6: An ellipsis on the back of a honey jar to show a pause in the middle of the sentence sounds slightly awkward but is technically correct. The missing period at the end of the sentence, however, is not. | An ellipsis used to show a pause in the middle of a sentence.

7: An advertisement and soap bottle with ellipses to show pauses in the flow of the sentences.

8: This advertisement is cut off. The completed sentence reads "Watch out Candyland...Skinny Cow is here." The ellipsis are used to show a trailing thought and pause within the sentence.

9: An ellipsis to show a pause in the middle of a sentence. Kind of awkward sounding but, nevertheless, corect. | This example shows an ellipsis used to cut a quotation.

10: A classic example of an ellipsis used to cut a quote. In this case, though, it may have been used to censor profanity. | This example shows an ellipsis indicating a pause in the flow of a sentence. This is a very common usage in slogans and advertisements.

11: This is a kind of tricky situation to judge, as it doesn't fall cleanly into any of the proper-use catagories for ellipses. However, since it is meant to indicate that there is more to come, it seems to be proper usage.

12: The Ellipsis: Done Wrong

13: The back cover of the novel Budda Boy, with an alarming four-dotted ellipsis where there should only be three dots. | A classic Peanuts cartoon. The next box does not show Lucy speaking, proving that Schultz tried to pull off an ellipsis where there should be a period.

14: This ellipsis does not end a complete sentence, and isn't showing a trailing thought. It seems to be trying to take the place of a colon to start a list. | Another ellipsis trying to take the place of a colon at the start of a list.

15: Both of these examples show an ellipsis starting a sentence. An ellipsis never starts a sentence (unless the beginnig of a quote is cut).

16: These two examples show ellipses used at the end of phrases that aren't trailing off.

17: This is not a trailing sentence, but more of a statement. A period belongs where the ellipsis is placed.

18: There is such thing as too many dots. Both of these examples have four or more dots in their ellipses, which only works when one is cutting a quote after a complete sentence.

19: There is no reason for Lily's name to be followed by an ellipsis.

20: The ellipsis is not interchangeable with the comma. There is rarely a need for more than one per sentence. | Another example of an ellipsis where there should be a comma. Letter greetings end with commas, always.

21: A colon seems more appropriate in these two examples. The sentences aren't trailing, therefore they should not end with ellipses.

22: Two more examples of ellipses where a colon may be more appropriate. Starting a list does not require an ellipsis.

23: This is not a trailing sentence, and may be yet another example of an ellipsis where a colon is needed. | Ditto.

24: A slightly different example, these ellipses are used to keep the eye moving on to information appearing later. It is very commonly used, but grammatically not what an ellipsis is for.

25: This is not an example of a pause in the flow of the sentence, nor is it a trailing thought. The ellipsis is not needed.

26: Credits for used/misused the ellipses, in page order: 3) Philadelphia Inquirer, Sonicare Electric Toothbrush manual 4)Philadelphia Inquirer, Frontgate Catalouge, WWF pamphlet 5)Philadelphia Inquirer, The Spirit of Shalon: Voices of the Conservative Movement 6) Oral B toothbrush, Really Raw Honey 7)Sundown Naturals advertisement, Softsoap antibacterial hand soap 8)Skinny Cow advertisement, 9)Essential Elements 2000 Oboe book 1, Charlotte in New York 10)Philadelphia Inquirer, Impact Thrift Store letter heading, 11)Junior Girl Scout Badge Book

27: 13)Budda Boy, Philadelphia Inquirer 14)Kidz Bop 3, Tetley Green Tea 15)Morris Arboretum Pamphlet, Pottery Barn Teen catalouge 16)Philadelphia Inquirer 17)American Girl Doodle Studio 18)Fiber One cereal box, Shady Grove Elementary School 2009 yearbook 19)American Girl Magazine 20)Why do Cats Purr? and Other True Facts, American Girl Doodle Studio 21)Walgreens Advertisement 22)Purple Heart flyer, Arcadia University Flyer 23)Wissahickon Middle School, salt water taffy factsheet, Drexel Universitity Theater 24)American Girl Quiz Book 25)stationary

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  • By: Michelle B.
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  • Title: The Ellipsis
  • Correct and incorrect usage of the ellipsis.
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  • Published: over 5 years ago

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