Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Writing resources #10

Today, I want to talk about the ellipsis, and why I think writers should use the ellipsis over the trailing three dots. I'd also like to discuss when to replace it with the em dash.

So for starters, what in an ellipsis and how does a writer use it properly? To create an ellipsis hold down the alt key and press 0133 on your number pad then release it.

The ellipsis

To sum it up, the ellipsis requires spaces around it at all times and doesn't act as closing punctuation; thus a writer must use closing punctuation.

This is a great advantage a lot of times as the writer can add a direction to their trailed off sentence. It also adds a beat into their writing that the plain three dots just doesn't have. The ellipsis makes hanging a lantern on things easier since if the writer continues the sentence and there is no closing punctuation it shows the reader that something is missing, whereas if the writer use the three dots, most of the time, the reader will assume that they forgot to capitalize the next word.

Using the ellipsis over the three dots will make the em dash stand out when it is used to show an abrupt ending to a sentence. The ellipsis drags on and ends in punctuation thus giving it a distinct feel to the hard, quick em dash (alt+0151).

When choosing between the ellipsis and the em dash, a writer should always think of how the sentence itself feels. If they want to show the reader that the person was interrupted, then the em dash is your punctuation. But if a writer want to show that the speaker is trailing off before the other person joins the conversation, then the ellipsis will do them better than the three dots.

In the end, the ellipsis versus the three dots is a style difference, but I believe that the three dots doesn't show the reader as much as the ellipsis does and often requires the writer to tell more in order to make up for this. Try it out the next time.

Thank you for reading,

Next: Writing sound

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