Dear Seeing Spots in San Diego…
Ellipses are just tiny blots of ink, I know, but bobbling them distracts editors and who wants that? Here’s the skinny:
Use THREE dots, tapping your space bar before and after each one, to indicate an omission within a sentence, to join sentence fragments, or to indicate an intentional trailing off of a complete sentence. Hence:
- “It’s too bad this snooze inducer isn’t a hilarious comedy.” becomes “It’s . . . a hilarious comedy.”
- “The dog skidded around the corner, spun wildly in circles, then crashed into a pile of clothes.” becomes “The dog skidded . . . spun wildly . . . then crashed into a pile of clothes.”
- “If I had my way . . . ,” he mumbled.
Use FOUR dots, with the first dot smashed up against the letter preceding it, when a complete sentence precedes your ellipses: “My choice was agonizing. . . . Yes. I’d do it. I’d do it!”
For the full scoop on ellipses, read the Chicago Manual of Style, starting at 11-51. And, hey, about the ellipses spacing in DearEditor.com’s salutation, ignore it. It was a stylistic choice in the web design. Really, I swear. . . .