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Don’t eclipse the ellipsis…

Check this witty CNN article on punctuation mistakes. I agree with most of it except the authors’ portrayal of the ellipsis, also known as the ‘dot, dot, dot’, as some sort of written cop-out. It’s true that in some contexts, the ellipsis can make the writer seem equivocal and I agree that we should stamp this out. But the ellipsis, used properly, is a wonderful device.

How about the ellipsis that creates suspense?

Gilbert looked at her in horror: ‘I thought you knew about…’ (Reader’s reaction: ‘about what?’)

Or the ellipsis that spares our blushes?

They kissed passionately and then fell onto the bed… (Reader’s response: ‘yep – got the picture there.)

Three cheers for the ellipsis, I say, one for each dot…

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Beth Penfold

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