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7.05 Ellipsis points

Use three ellipsis points (. . .) to indicate a silence in dialogue, hesitation or interruption in speech, a pause in narrative, or the passage of time. Used in this way, they are sometimes also referred to as suspension points:

  • "What is your approach to self-actualization?"
    " . . . "
    "Let me rephrase that."
  • The Minister’s speech dragged on and on . . . until, finally, the TV announcer’s voice broke the monotony.

Ellipsis points may be substituted for etc. and similar expressions at the end of a list:

  • nuts
  • bolts
  • screws
  • . . .

Do not use ellipsis points to imply hidden meanings or to separate groups of words for emphasis, as is often done in advertising.

For the use of ellipsis points to indicate omissions in quotations, see 8.09 Omissions.