Punctuation: Ellipsis.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday. Last week I talked about what the term juxtaposition means so check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about punctuation again so let’s dive in.

What is an ellipsis?

An ellipsis mark is made up of three periods. It looks like this …

What does this mean?

An ellipsis mark is used when someone is quoting someone else but they do not want to use the entire quote. The ellipsis mark tells readers that there is an omission in this quote.

If I want to quote the beginning of a paragraph and the end of a paragraph then I would use an ellipsis mark to indicate that I have skipped over part of this quote.


“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses…or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.” (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Illustrated by Henry Keen, from The Oscar Wilde Collection: A Selection Of His Greatest Works, Chapter 1, pg.13).

I have used a quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray as an example, you can see that I have started to quote this book, but I did not want to use the entire quote. I have used the beginning and the end of the first sentence in chapter one and I have used the ellipsis mark … to indicate that there are lines missing from this quote.

Why is this important?

I think that understanding what an ellipsis mark means is very important for writers and for students especially. If you are writing an essay and you want to use a quote but not an entire paragraph then it is important to know that you can break up a quote without misquoting or improperly quoting. The ellipsis mark … allows students to use the key parts of the quote that they need without having extra information that they may not need because when writing essays, it is especially important to make sure that any quotes you use make sense. A quote should back up what you are saying, you should not just throw in quotes because you think it shows off that you know this quote, a quote should serve the rest of your writing.

It is also important to understand what an ellipsis mark is and what it means from a reader’s perspective too because if you see this mark … and you don’t know what it means then you will be confused.

This has been Theory Thursday. Is there any punctuation mark that you find really confusing? Let me know.

Kate xo.

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